Life of Black Hawk
FROM A PORTRAIT PAIN.TED , BY R.OBT. M SULLY
R R, DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY
MILO MILTON QUAIFE
The Stute Bisloricpl Society of Wjsco*\i#
R. R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY
AS announced in the preface of last year s
A\ volume, the series of reminiscences of
Chicago life was there completed. The
purpose of these annual publications has been
twofold, first, to present an example of the
high standards of craftsmanship attained by
the apprentices of the Lakeside Press, and
secondly, to carry at Christmastide the good
wishes of the Press to its many patrons and
friends. It has been the aim to select subject
matter which is worth while in itself on account
of its human interest, and which has the added
value of being not readily obtainable else
where. The accomplishment of this aim in
the volumes on Early Chicago is fully attested
by their popularity. So popular has been this
historical note that it has been decided to use
for a time at least, similar material about the
contiguous Northwest ; and the publishers feel
especially fortunate in having enlisted the en
thusiasm of Dr. Milo Milton Quaife who will
search out and edit the subject matter for
these volumes. No one is more deeply versed
in the history and literature of the Old North
west Territory or has a finer appreciation of
its romance; and as superintendent of the
State Historical Society of Wisconsin he has
access to the richest store of material. The
Autobiography of Black Hawk has been se
lected as the subject matter for this year.
That it will continue to maintain the interest
shown in the former volumes is the hope of
EDITOR S PREFACE ix
CERTIFICATE OF ANTOINE LECLAIR . 5
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE EDITION OF
LIFE OF BLACK HAWK 23
BLACK HAWK WAR was one of
the pathetic tragedies of the development
of our middle border. Much as our coun
try blundered into war with England in 1 8 12,
so, twenty years later, Black Hawk blundered
into war with the United States. As great a
tragedy, but much longer drawn out, was the
entire life of Black Hawk. The reasons for
reprinting at this time his Apologia have been
stated in the main in the Historical Introduc
tion which follows these pages. Here I desire
only to call attention to the attitude which has
governed me, first in recommending to the
Lakeside Press the selection of this work for
inclusion in the Lakeside Classics, and second
in performing the editorial work which was
entrusted to me. I am far from yielding to
the American Indian the blind adulation and
undiscriminating praise which unfortunately
has long been popular with a certain school of
writers. Nor, on the other hand, do I think
he should be treated with the unreasoning
scorn and bitter prejudice which was commonly
manifested by the frontiersmen who came into
actual contact and conflict with him. The
Indian was a savage; even, it may be granted,
a splendid type of savage. As such, he had
his faults and his virtues. Regarded from
his own viewpoint of life these are alike
comprehensible. As measured by civilized
standards of achievement in the various realms
of human activity, the red man was vastly the
white man s inferior. Ideally, the represen
tatives of the favored race should have mani
fested toward their weaker brethren an attitude
of benevolent guardianship. In practice, the
white race was commonly guilty of cruel
injustice to the red. The red man, according
to his wisdom which, it must be remembered,
was the wisdom of the child of the forest,
struck out, oftentimes blindly enough, by way
of retaliation. It is the function of the his
torian to seek for and set forth the simple
truth. Being human, however, he has his
frailties and his viewpoint. Without conced
ing the ultimate righteousness of the cause of
the red man in his four-century conflict with
the white for the possession of the American
Continent, it is still possible to give him his
just due. Only as we strive to understand
his viewpoint and enter into the perceptions
from which his actions resulted can we truly
tell the story of the relations of the two races
in American history. To this end, the autobi
ography of Black Hawk is a unique document.
Entirely aside from its historical interest, it
should possess a decided human interest for
all who are inclined to enter into the life and
itor g preface
trials of the true native American, the North
In the preparation of the volume for the
press I have enjoyed and desire to acknowl
edge the efficient assistance of Pauline Buell,
Mary Farley, Louise P. Kellogg, and Mary
Foster, all members of the staff of the Wis
consin Historical Library. The map which
is given has been drawn by Miss Foster, while
Miss Kellogg has prepared the index. The
responsibility for proof-reading and otherwise
seeing the copy through the press has been
assumed by the publisher.
MILO M. QUAIFE.
Life of Black Hawk
TRADITION OF HIS NATION INDIAN WARS IN WHICH HE HAS
BEEN ENGAGED CAUSE OF JOINING THE BRITISH IN THEIR
LATE WAR WITH AMERICA, AND ITS HISTORY DE
SCRIPTION OF THE ROCK-RIVER VILLAGE MAN
NERS AND CUSTOMS ENCROACHMENTS BY
THE WHITES, CONTRARY TO TREA
TY REMOVAL FROM HIS
VILLAGE IN 1831.
ACCOUNT OF THE CAUSE AND GENERAL HISTORY
SURRENDER AND CONFINEMENT AT JEFFERSON BARRACKS,
TRAVELS THROUGH THE UNITED STATES
DICTATED BY HIMSELF.
J. B. Patterson, of Rock Island, III. Editor and Proprietor.
RUSSELL, ODIORNE & METCALF.
NEW YORK: MONSON BANCROFTPHILADELPHIA : MARSHALL, CLARK & CO.
BALTIMORE: JOS. JEWETT.-MOBILE: SIDNEY SMITH.
Rock-Island, October 1 6, 1833.
I DO HEREBY CERTIFY, that Ma-ka-
tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk, did
call upon me, on his return to his people
in August last, and express a great desire to
have a History of his life written and published,
in order, (as he said) "that the people of the
United States, (among whom he had been trav
elling, and by whom he had been treated with
great respect, friendship and hospitality,) might
know the causes that had impelled him to act
as he had done, and the principles by which
he was governed." In accordance with his
request, I acted as Interpreter; and was par
ticularly cautious, to understand distinctly the
narrative of Black Hawk throughout and
have examined the work carefully, since its
completion and have no hesitation in pro
nouncing it strictly correct, in all its particulars.
Given under my hand, at the Sac and Fox
Agency, the day and date above written.
U. S. Interpreter for the Sacs and Foxes.
TO BRIGADIER GEN L. H. ATKINSON.
Sir, The changes of fortune, and vicissi
tudes of war, made you my conqueror. When
my last resources were exhausted, my warriors
worn down with long and toilsome marches,
we yielded, and I became your prisoner.
The story of my life is told in the following
pages ; it is intimately connected, and in some
measure, identified with a part of the history
of your own: I have, therefore, dedicated it
The changes of many summers, have brought
old age upon me, and I cannot expect to
survive many moons. Before I set out on my
journey to the land of my fathers, I have deter
mined to give my motives and reasons for my
former hostilities to the whites, and to vindicate
my character from misrepresentation. The
kindness I received from you whilst a prisoner
of war, assures me that you will vouch for the
facts contained in my narrative, so far as they
came under your observation.
I am now an obscure member of a nation,
that formerly honored and respected my opin
ions. The path to glory is rough, and many
gloomy hours obscure it. May the Great Spirit
shed light on your s and that you may never
experience the humility that the power of the
American government has reduced me to, is
the wish of him, who, in his native forests,
was once as proud and bold as yourself.
It is presumed no apology will be required
for presenting to the public, the life of a Hero
who has lately taken such high rank among
the distinguished individuals of America. In
the following pages he will be seen in the char
acters of a Warrior, a Patriot and a State-
prisoner in every situation he is still the
Chief of his Band, asserting their rights with
dignity, firmness and courage. Several ac
counts of the late war having been published,
in which he thinks justice is not done to himself
or nation, he determined to make known to the
world, the injuries his people have received
from the whites the causes which brought on
the war on the part of his nation, and a gen
eral history of it throughout the campaign.
In his opinion, this is the only method now left
him, to rescue his little Band the remnant of
those who fought bravely with him from the
effects of the statements that have already
The facts which he states, respecting the
Treaty of 1804, in virtue of the provisions of
which Government claimed the country in dis
pute, and enforced its argument with the sword,
are worthy of attention. It purported to cede
to the United States, all the country, including
the village and corn-fields of Black Hawk and
his band, on the east side of the Mississippi.
Four individuals of the tribe, who were on a
visit to St. Louis to obtain the liberation of one
of their people from prison, were prevailed
upon, (says Black Hawk,) to make this impor
tant treaty, without the knowledge or authority
of the tribes, or nation.
In treating with the Indians for their country,
it has always been customary to assemble the
whole nation; because, as has been truly sug
gested by the Secretary of War, the nature
of the authority of the chiefs of a tribe is such,
that it is not often that they dare make a treaty
of much consequence, and we might add,
never, when involving so much magnitude as
the one under consideration, without the pres
ence of their young men. A rule so reasonable
and just ought never to be violated and the
Indians might well question the right of Gov
ernment to dispossess them, when such violation
was made the basis of its right.
The Editor has written this work according
to the dictation of Black Hawk, through the
United States Interpreter, at the Sac and Fox
Agency of Rock Island. He does not, there
fore, consider himself responsible for any of
the facts, or views, contained in it and leaves
the old chief and his story with the public,
whilst he neither asks, nor expects, any fame
for his services as an amanuensis.
MUCH has been heard, in recent years, of
the doctrine of benevolent assimilation
of the backward races of the earth by
their more enlightened and powerful brethren.
A few years ago the "white man s burden"
was a commonplace of current speech and dis
cussion. More recently, if contemporary belief
may be credited, this same doctrine of the duty
of a chosen people to inherit the earth, forcibly,
if need be, has constituted an important factor
in bringing on the Great War. From the
beginning, the course of development of the
American people has been marked by a tragic
struggle, on the part of a superior race to grasp,
of an inferior one to retain, possession of the
virgin continent disclosed to the European
world by the momentous voyage of discovery
of 1492. In the present discussion it is my
purpose neither to praise nor to blame either the
red or the white race, the two parties to this
four-hundred-year contest ; but rather, having
emphasized the fact of its inevitability, to take
note of certain of the circumstances by which
the struggle was attended.
It may be regarded as axiomatic that when
a superior and an inferior race come in contact
a struggle for domination will ensue, the result
of which ordinarily will be the triumph of the
former over the latter. Hard as their fate
may seem to the conquered, it is an essential
accompaniment to the progress of the human
race. We need not regret, therefore, that the
white man triumphed over the red and wrested
from him the North American continent. The
progress of civilization was involved in the vic
tory of the superior race. Nevertheless it is
to the eternal discredit of the white man that
he made the fate of his opponent needlessly
hard and bitter; and that in almost every stage
of the long struggle, the relations of the white
race with its less civilized neighbors have been
marked by a disregard both of justice and of
solemn treaty obligations. Inevitably this
operated to goad the red man into impotent
warfare, which became, in turn, the excuse for
further spoliation. Fundamentally the races
warred because the red man wished to retain a
continent which the white man intended to
take. The American people as such, however,
never intended deliberately to wrong the Indian.
No government ever entertained more enlight
ened and benevolent intentions toward a weaker
people than did that of the United States toward
the Indian; but seldom in history has a sadder
divergence between intention and performance
been witnessed. In large part the failure of
the government to realize its good will toward
the red men was due to factors over which it
had and could have no control. But all too
often, alas, it was due to the government s
unwillingness or inability to restrain its lawless
subjects, who hesitated at no means to possess
themselves of the land, the furs, and the other
property of the Indians.
These remarks are designed to assist the
reader to an appreciation of the historical sig
nificance of the autobiography which follows.
It is not a finished historical narration; rather,
it is an example of the raw material from which
such narratives are constructed. In telling the
story of his life, Black Hawk was writing a
partisan document. He was not animated by
the ideal for truth to which the professional
historian subscribes, nor did he enjoy the his
torian s sense of detatched perspective. He
is far from being the greatest or ablest repre
sentative of his race in American history, and
he burned with the consciousness of his wrongs
at the hands of the white race. To read prof
itably his autobiography, therefore, it is neces
sary to appreciate and to allow for its partisan
ship. Allowance should be made, too, for the
circumstances under which it was produced.
Dictated by Black Hawk in his native tongue,
turned into English by an interpreter, and put
into literary form by still a third person, it
would be strange indeed if the narrative conveys
in all cases the meaning the author intended.
Because of these reasons, in part, some have
denied that the work possesses historical valid
ity. Most students, however, have felt that it
should be regarded as a serious historical nar
rative, and that it constitutes an important
source of information for the period and sub
ject matter with which it deals. This opinion
the writer shares. But the major interest in,
and the historical importance, of the volume is
quite independent of the accuracy of its details.
Whether true or untrue in its statements, and
in this respect it shares the errors common to all
autobiography, the book is important because
it illuminates, as with a flash of lightning, the
viewpoint and state of mind of a typical repre
sentative of the vanquished race. Not often
has the red man enjoyed, or so well improved
an opportunity to tell his story and to set forth
his wrongs. Yet, unless this viewpoint be un
derstood, there can be no fair or intelligent
comprehension of one of the most important
aspects of American history, nor any informed
opinion of the measure of justice, or its oppo
site, which our country has meted out to him.
Historically, then, the autobiography possesses
a twofold significance : immediately, as a valu
able source of information pertaining to the
history of the middle western border; and
more broadly, as representative of the viewpoint
and feelings of the Indian throughout the entire
period of conflict with the whites.
Two dominant influences in American history
made possible the career of Black Hawk. One
was the rivalry, already dwelt upon, between
red man and white; the other, the international
rivalry between Great Britain and her indepen
dent American offspring. For generations
before the Peace of Paris of 1763, the French
and the English had competed strenuously for
the trade and, therewith the favor, of the Indian.
It followed, as a matter of course, that Indian
statecraft concerned itself chiefly with turning
to the greatest possible advantage the rivalry
between the two great European nations. With
the revolt of the colonies from the mother
country in 17/5, the old French-English con
flict for commercial and political supremacy in
North America was replaced by the newer
rivalry between Great Britain and the United
States . The Treaty of Paris of 1 783 nominally
conceded to the latter sovereignty over the terri
tory south of the Great Lakes and westward
to the Mississippi. Actually, however, most
of the region lying between the Alleghenies and
the Mississippi was a wilderness held by various
and powerful Indian tribes from whom the
country was still to be wrested. North of the
Ohio River, the section with which we are
immediately concerned, the British sought to
retain the control which, formally, they had
surrendered by the treaty of 1783. British
and Indian interests coincided, therefore, in a
policy of resistance to the westward advance
of the Americans. Nevertheless this advance
progressed steadily, and more and more Amer
ican sovereignty was extended over the North
west. With its progress the tribes fell more
and more under American influence. Thus
the British-American rivalry was omnipresent
throughout the frontier, and the different
bands and tribes adhered to the one party
or the other according as inclination or self-
interest dictated. In this political atmosphere
the active life of Black Hawk was spent.
His tribe succumbed only tardily to the Amer
ican influence, to which Black Hawk himself
never yielded until compelled thereto by force
of arms in old age. Leader of the "Brit
ish band" of Sauks, he was an inveterate
foe of the American nation even after the
majority of his tribe had yielded allegiance
Black Hawk was the natural product of the
political environment which encompassed him.
Unfortunately for him and his people, however,
he was unable to perceive in his later years
that for all practical purposes the British-Amer
ican rivalry had come to an end and that
therewith must end, also, his lifelong role of
hostility to the United States. Blindly, there
fore, he led his people to destruction, and in
so doing gave to the history of the old North
west its last Indian War. Half a century
after the Treaty of Paris of 1783 had given the
United States nominal sovereignty over the
Northwest, by the overthrow of Black Hawk
and his followers the last effort of armed
resistance to the establishment of this sover
eignty was crushed.
The more immediate cause of the Black
Hawk War redounds to the credit neither of
the white man nor the red. Had Black Hawk
been more statesmanlike and less unscrupulous
the war need never have been fought ; equally
might it have been obviated had the govern
ment or citizens of the United States observed,
in their treatment of Black Hawk s band, the
ordinary dictates of justice and reason. For
the story of the war the reader must seek else
where. Here we can only sketch briefly the
situation which precipitated it. In the autumn
of 1804 Governor Harrison of Indiana Terri
tory concluded at St. Louis a treaty with cer
tain representatives of the Sauk and Fox nations
whereby the latter, in return mainly for the
paltry annuity of $1000, ceded to the United
States some fifty million acres of land, com
prising the territory lying between the Wiscon
sin River, the Fox of Illinois, the Illinois, and
the Mississippi, together with the eastern third
of the state of Missouri. It is idle now to
debate the question of the fairness of this treaty,
or of the compensation it carried. Ample jus
tification can easily be found for a general
indictment of the system employed by the
United States in negotiating treaties with the
Indians. 1 But, although the area ceded was
a consideration of this point as illustrated by
the two Chicago treaties of 1821 and 1833, see the
writer s Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1673-1833,
larger than common, there is nothing about this
particular transaction to distinguish it materially
from scores of other treaties which have been
concluded with the Indians. Black Hawk later
advanced the contention that the Sauk and the
Fox signers of the treaty acted without author
ity from their nations; in short, that so far as
the tribes were concerned it was a fraudulent
transaction; and to this treaty he ascribed the
origin of all his people s difficulties with the
United States. This contention, however, is
not supported by the facts. There is no other
evidence than the assertions of Black Hawk
that more than the usual cajolery of the Indians
was indulged in by the white representatives in
securing the cession ; nor that any protest was
made against it save Black Hawk s own a
quarter of a century later. On the contrary,
in a number of subsequent treaties, to several
of which Black Hawk himself attached his sig
nature, the Sauks and Foxes reaffirmed the
provisions of the treaty of 1804.
To this treaty, nevertheless, is to be ascribed
a principal occasion of the war of 1832. By
article seven it was agreed that "as long as the
lands which are now ceded to the United States
remain their property, the Indians belonging
to the said tribes shall enjoy the privilege of
living and hunting upon them." In consider
ing this fateful stipulation it should be recalled
that in 1804 modern Indiana contained but a
few thousand inhabitants clustered around
Vincennes and along the Ohio border ; that in
Illinois, settlement was confined to the old
French towns of the American Bottom; and
that all Michigan, outside Detroit and its envi
rons, was likewise a silent wilderness. There
would seem to be no reason, therefore, for
prohibiting the Sauks and Foxes the enjoyment
of their patrimony, until such time as the
advance of American settlement should cause it
actually to be needed by the whites. But the
American frontiersman has ever been contemp
tuous alike of the rights of the Indian and of the
restraining hand of his government . Animated
by a marvelous energy, matched only by his
audacious self-confidence, he has pushed the
line of settlement across the continent, often
times in advance, and frequently in defiance
of the federal government. So it happened
that about the year 1823 covetous squatters
began to usurp possession of the rich fields
cultivated by Black Hawk s "British band "
at the mouth of Rock River. This vicinity is
today a perfect garden spot to the agricultur
ist, the center of one of the finest farm
ing regions on the face of the globe. It is
not strange that the squatters coveted Black
Hawk s fields; yet the line of homestead set
tlement was still some distance away, the inter
vening territory had not been surveyed, and
it was the plain duty of the federal govern
ment to eject the squatters and protect the na
tives in the enjoyment of their treaty rights.
Unfortunately for our repute as a law-abid
ing people, seldom has a general law been
enforced in the United States in the face of
determined local opposition. Nor was it done
in the case we are considering. Black Hawk
made vain and repeated appeals to the white
authorities for protection, and for redress of
his grievances. No relief was afforded, while
year after year the encroachments continued
and his followers were .subjected to frequent
indignity and outrage. The Indian has ever
been tenacious of his birthplace, and when at
length the issue was forced upon him Black
Hawk resolved to fight for the retention of the
village where he had been born and where his
ancestors were buried.
The unwisdom of this resolve is manifest.
Whatever his wrongs may have been, for Black
Hawk to raise the hatchet against the United
States in 1832 was to lead his nation to suicide.
The wiser Keokuk advised a peaceful retreat
across the Mississippi. Only temporarily did
Black Hawk yield, however, in the spring of
1831, when, in the face of a strong military
demonstration by the regular army and the
Illinois militia, he withdrew to the Iowa side
of the river. A year later, spurred by illusory
hopes of British alliance and of Indian co-oper
ation, he led his followers, about a thousand
souls in all, back to the Illinois shore, and
therewith began the pitiful tragedy known to
history as the Black Hawk War.
Its story is one that few can take pleasure
in dwelling upon. The war was unfortunate
alike in its inception, in the way it was waged,
and in the manner of its conclusion. That
Black Hawk must be crushed admits of no
dispute. That Indian men and women and
little children should be indiscriminately mas
sacred after Black Hawk s power had been
broken was a ghastly luxury which our fore
fathers might well have foreborne to enjoy.
The war over, Black Hawk was taken as a
prisoner on an extensive tour of the East, in
order that he might receive ocular demonstra
tion of the futility of contesting the power of
the United States. Thereafter, humbled and
disgraced, he lived for several years a life of
peaceful retirement which contrasted strangely
indeed with his stormy, active career. Even in
death, he was not immune from outrage at the
hands of the conquerors of his people, for his
body was stolen from the grave and subjected
to the treatment commonly reserved for male
For northern Illinois and Wisconsin the war
had an influence not to be measured by the
degree of magnitude of its military events.
For all practical purposes in 1832 the region
between the Wisconsin and the Illinois rivers,
aside from the vicinity of the lead mines, was
an unknown wilderness. As a result of the
war much of it was explored, while the fear of
the Indian and the Indian title to the land
disappeared together. With the completion of
the Erie Canal in 1825, a transportation route
had been provided whereby the tide of white
settlers from the East might gain easy access
to the lands lying to the west of Lake Michi
gan. Suddenly the rush of white settlement
along this highway began. It involved the
birth of the modern Chicago in the year fol
lowing the war, and, in rapid succession, of
many another mid-western city. It filled nor
thern Illinois and Wisconsin with settlers from
the free states, and ere long the tide of settle
ment crossed the Mississippi. Thus, at length,
the upper portion of the Great Valley was set
tled, mainly by a free-state population coming
by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes.
It seems not entirely fanciful to suggest that
the Black Hawk War, in which Jefferson Davis
and Abraham Lincoln, Winfield Scott and
Albert Sidney Johnston, and many another
noted Civil War character took part, indirectly
played a considerable role in shaping the issue
of the later and greater conflict.
JLffe of TBlacfe
I WAS born at the Sac Village, on Rock
river, in the year 1/67, and am now in
my 6/th year. My great grandfather,
Na-na-ma-kee, or Thunder, (according to the
tradition given me by my father, Py-e-sa,) was
born in the vicinity of Montreal, where the
Great Spirit first placed the Sac Nation, and
inspired him with a belief that, at the end of
four years, he should see a white man, who
would be to him a father. Consequently he
blacked his face, and eat but once a day, (just
as the sun was going down,) for three years,
and continued dreaming throughout all this
time whenever he slept; when the Great
Spirit again appeared to him, and told him,
that, at the end of one year more, he should
meet his father, and directed him to start
seven days before its expiration, and take with
him his two brothers, Na-mah, or Sturgeon, and
Pau-ka-hum-ma-wa, or Sun Fish, and travel
in a direction to the left of sun-rising. After
pursuing this course five days, he sent out his
two brothers to  listen if they could hear a
noise, and if so, to fasten some grass to the
end of a pole, erect it, pointing in the direction
of the sound, and then return to him.
Early next morning, they returned, and
reported that they had heard sounds which
appeared near at hand, and that they had ful
filled his order. They all then started for the
place where the pole had been erected ; when,
on reaching it, Na-na-ma-kee left his party,
and went, alone, to the place from whence the
sounds proceeded, and found that the white
man had arrived and pitched his tent. When
he came in sight, his father came out to meet
him. He took him by the hand, and welcomed
him into his tent. He told him that he was
the son of the King of France that he had
been dreaming for four years that the Great
Spirit had directed him to come here, where
he should meet a nation of people who had
never yet seen a white man that they should
be his children, and he should be their father
that he had communicated these things to
the King, his father, who laughed at him, and
called him a Ma-she-na but he insisted on
coming here to meet his children, where the
Great Spirit had directed him. The King told
him that he would neither find land nor people
that this was an uninhabited region of lakes
and mountains ; but, finding that he would have
no peace without it, fitted out a na-pe-qua,
manned it, and gave it to him in charge, when
he immediately loaded it, set sail, and had now
landed on the very day that the Great Spirit
had told him, in his dreams, he should meet
his chil-[i5]dren. He had now met the man
ft of 25Iacft J^atoft
who should, in future, have charge of all the
He then presented him with a medal, 1 which
he hung round his neck. Na-na-ma-kee in
formed him of his dreaming, and told him
that his two brothers remained a little ways
behind. His father gave him a shirt, blanket,
and handkerchief, besides a variety of presents,
and told him to go and bring his brothers.
Having laid aside his buffalo robe, and dressed
himself in his new dress, he started to meet
his brethren. When they met, he explained to
them his meeting with the white man, and
exhibited to their view the presents that he had
made him took off his medal, and placed it
upon Nah-ma, his elder brother, and requested
them both to go with him to his father.
They proceeded thither, were ushered into
the tent, and, after some brief ceremony, his
father opened his chest and took presents there
from for the newcomers. He discovered that
Na-na-ma-kee had given his medal to Nah-ma.
He told him that he had done wrong he
should wear that medal himself, as he had
others for his brethren: That which he had
given him was a type of the rank he should
hold in the nation: That his brothers could
*A11 the European nations followed the practice of
giving medals to the friendly leaders of the Indians,
a custom which the United States also followed.
The medal was at once a certificate of friendship
and a mark of the esteem and importance with which
the recipient was regarded.
ife of 2Macft J^atoft
only rank as civil chiefs, and their duties
should consist of taking care of the village, and
attending to its civil concerns whilst his rank,
from his superior knowledge, placed him over
them all. If the nation gets into any difficulty
with another, then his puc-co-ha-wa-ma, or
sovereign decree, must be obeyed. If he de
clared war, he must  lead them on to battle:
That the Great Spirit had made him a great
and brave general, and had sent him here to give
him that medal, and make presents to him for
His father remained four days during which
time he gave him guns, powder and lead, spears
and lances, and showed him their use ; so that
in war he could chastise his enemies, and in
peace they could kill buffalo, deer, and other
game, necessary for the comforts and luxuries
of life. He then presented the others with
various kinds of cooking utensils, and learned
them their uses, and having given them a
large quantity of goods, as presents, and every
other thing necessary for their comfort, he set
sail for France, after promising to meet them
again, at the same place, after the twelfth moon.
The three newly-made chiefs returned to
their village, and explained to Muk-a-ta-quet,
their father, who was the principal chief of the
nation, what had been said and done. The old
chief had some dogs killed, and made a feast,
preparatory to resigning his sceptre, to which
all the nation were invited. Great anxiety
itife of SMacft
prevailed among them, to know what the three
brothers had seen and heard, when the old
chief rose, and related to them the sayings and
doings of his three sons; and concluded by
observing, that "the Great Spirit had directed
that these, his three children, should take the
rank and power that had been his, and that
he yielded these honors and duties willingly to
them, because it was the wish of the 
Great Spirit, and he could never consent to
make him angry!" He now presented the
great medicine bag to Na-na-ma-kee, and told
him, "that he cheerfully resigned it to him
it is the soul of our nation it has never yet
been disgraced and I will expect you to keep
Some dissension arose among some of them,
in consequence of so much power being given
to Na-na-ma-kee, he being so young a man.
To quiet this, Na-na-ma-kee, during a violent
thunder storm, told them that he had caiised it!
and that it was an exemplification of the name
the Great Spirit had given him. During this
storm, the lightning struck, and set fire to a
tree, close by; (a sight they had never witnessed
before.) He went to it, and brought away some
of its burning branches, made a fire in the
lodge, and seated his brothers thereby, oppo
site to each other; whilst he stood up, and
addressed his people as follows:
"I am yet young but the Great Spirit has
called me to the rank I now hold among you.
ife of <$fecEt l^atoft
I have never sought to be anything more than
my birth entitled me. I have not been ambi
tious nor was it ever my wish, whilst my
father lives, to have taken his place nor have
I now usurped his powers. The Great Spirit
caused me to dream for four years, he told
me where to go and meet the white man, who
would be a kind father to us all. I obeyed his
order. I went, and have seen our new father.
You have all heard what was said and done.
The Great Spirit directed him to come and meet
me, and it is his order that places me at the
head of my nation, the place which my father
has willingly resigned.
You have all witnessed the power which has
been given to me by the Great Spirit, in mak
ing that fire and all that I now ask is, that
these, my two chiefs, may never let it go out :
That they may preserve peace among you, and
administer to the wants of the needy: And,
should an enemy invade our country, I will then,
but not until then, assume command, and go
forth with my band of brave warriors, and
endeavor to chastise them!"
At the conclusion of this speech, every voice
cried out for Na-na-ma-kee! All were satis
fied, when they found that the Great Spirit
had done, what they had suspected was the work
of Na-na-ma-kee, he being a very shrewd
The next spring, according to promise, their
French father returned, with his na-pe-qua
ittfc of SSlacft
richly laden with goods, which were distributed
among them. He continued for a long time
to keep up a regular trade with them they
giving him, in exchange for his goods, furs
After a long time, the British overpowered
the French, (the two nations being at war,)
drove them away from Quebec, and took pos
session of it themselves. The different tribes
of Indians around our nation, envying our
people, united their forces against them, and
succeeded, by their great strength, to drive
them to Montreal, and from thence to Mack-
inac. Here our people first met our British
father, who fur-[i9]nished them with goods.
Their enemies still pursued them, and drove
them to different places on the lake, until they
made a village near Green Bay, on what is now
called Sac river, 2 having derived its name
from this circumstance. Here they held a
council with the Foxes, and a national treaty
of friendship and alliance was concluded upon.
The Foxes abandoned their village, and joined
the Sacs. This arrangement being mutually
obligatory upon both parties, as neither were
sufficiently strong to meet their enemies with
any hope of success, they soon became as one
2 Modern Fox River. This account of Black Hawk s
family and tribal history is in part legendary and in
part based on tradition. The Sacs and Foxes were
in Wisconsin for several generations before the over
throw of the French in America by the British in the
war of 1755-63.
ttifc of 25latft
band or nation of people. They were driven,
however, by the combined forces of their
enemies, to the Wisconsin. They remained
here some time, until a party of their young
men, (who had descended Rock river to its
mouth,) returned, and made a favorable report
of the country. They all descended Rock river
drove the Kas-kas-kias from the country,
and commenced the erection of their village,
determined never to leave it.
At this village I was born, being a regular
descendant of the first chief, Na-na-ma-kee, or
Thunder. Few, if any, events of note, trans
pired within my recollection, until about my
fifteenth year. I was not allowed to paint, or
wear feathers; but distinguished myself, at that
early age, by wounding an enemy; consequently,
I was placed in the ranks of the Braves!
Soon after this, a leading chief of the Mus-
cow nation, came to our village for recruits to
go to war against the Osages, our common
enemy. 3 I volunteered my services to go,
as my father had joined him ;  and was
proud to have an opportunity to prove to him
that I was not an unworthy son, and that I had
courage and bravery. It was not long before
we met the enemy, when a battle immediately
ensued. Standing by my father s side, I saw
him kill his antagonist, and tear the scalp from
3 The Osage, a southern Siouan tribe, whose home
was on the Osage River of Missouri, was commonly
at war with most of its neighbors.
31 tfc of lath
his head. Fired with valor and ambition, I
rushed furiously upon another, smote him to
the earth with my tomahawk run my lance
through his body took off his scalp, and
returned in triumph to my father! He said
nothing, but looked pleased. This was the first
man I killed ! The enemy s loss in this engage
ment having been great, they immediately
retreated, which put an end to the war for the
present. Our party then returned to our vil
lage, and danced over the scalps we had taken.
This was the first time that I was permitted to
join in a scalp-dance.
After a few moons had passed, (having
acquired considerable fame as a brave,) I led
a party of seven, and attacked one hundred
Osages ! I killed one man, and left him for
my comrades to scalp, whilst I was taking an
observation of the strength and preparations
of the enemy; and, finding that they were all
equally well armed with ourselves, I ordered a
retreat, and came off without losing a man!
This excursion gained for me great applause,
and enabled me, before a great while, to raise
a party of one hundred and eighty, to go
against the Osages. We left our village in
high spirits, and marched over a rugged coun
try, until we reached that of the Osages, on the
Missouri. We fol-  lowed their trail until
we arrived at their village, which we approached
with great caution, expecting that they were
all there ; but found, to our sorrow, that they
3tifc of 2Wacft f atofe
had deserted it! The party became dissatis
fied, in consequence of this disappointment,
and all, with the exception of five, dispersed
and returned home. I then placed myself at
the head of this brave little band, and thanked
the Great Spirit that so many remained,
and took up the trail of our enemies, with a
full determination never to return without some
trophy of victory! We followed on for several
days killed one man and a boy, and then
returned with their scalps.
In consequence of this mutiny in my camp,
I was not again enabled to raise a sufficient
party to go against the Osages, until about my
nineteenth year. During this interim, they
committed many outrages on our nation and
people. I succeeded, at length, in recruiting
two hundred efficient warriors, and took up the
line of march early in the morning. In a few
days we were in the enemy s country, and had
not traveled far before we met an equal force
to contend with. A general battle immediately
commenced, although my braves were consid
erably fatigued by forced marches. Each party
fought desperately. The enemy seemed un
willing to yield the ground, and we were deter
mined to conquer or die ! A large number of
the Osages were killed, and many wounded,
before they commenced retreating. A band of
warriors more brave, skilful, and efficient than
mine, could not be found. In this engagement
I killed five men and one squaw, and had 
ill ^w ^
ilife of 2Wack
the good fortune to take the scalps of all I
struck, except one. The enemy s loss in this
engagement was about one hundred men. Ours
nineteen. We now returned to our village,
well pleased with our success, and danced over
the scalps we had taken.
The Osages, in consequence of their great
loss in this battle, became satisfied to remain
on their own lands ; and ceased, for a while,
their depredations on our nation. Our atten
tion, therefore, was directed towards an ancient
enemy, who had decoyed and murdered some of
our helpless women and children. I started,
with my father, who took command of a small
party, and proceeded against the enemy. We
met near Merimack, 4 and an action ensued ; the
Cherokees having greatly the advantage in
numbers. Early in this engagement my father
was wounded in the thigh but had the pleas
ure of killing his antagonist before he fell.
Seeing that he had fallen, I assumed command,
and fought desperately, until the enemy com
menced retreating before us. I returned to
my father to administer to his necessities, but
nothing could be done for him. The medicine
man said the wound was mortal! from which
he soon after died! In this battle I killed three
men, and wounded several. The enemy s loss
being twenty-eight, and ours seven.
I now fell heir to the great medicine bag of
4 Probably the Meramec River, a westward tributary
of the Mississippi a short distance below St. Louis.
Eife of 25Iacft i^atoft
my forefathers, which had belonged to my
father. I took it, buried our dead, and returned
with my party, all sad and sorrowful, to our
village, in consequence of the loss of my father.
Owing to this misfortune, I blacked my 
face, fasted, and prayed to the Great Spirit for
five years during which time I remained in a
civil capacity, hunting and fishing.
The Osages having commenced aggressions
on our people, and the Great Spirit having
taken pity on me, I took a small party and
went against the enemy, but could only find
six men! Their forces being so weak, I
thought it cowardly to kill them, but took
them prisoners, and carried them to our Spanish
father at St. Louis, and gave them up to him;
and then returned to our village. Determined
on the final extermination of the Osages, for
the injuries our nation and people had received
from them, I commenced recruiting a strong
force, immediately on my return, and started,
in the third moon, with five hundred Sacs and
Foxes, and one hundred loways, and marched
against the enemy. We continued our march
for several days before we came upon their
trail, which was discovered late in the day.
We encamped for the night ; made an early
start next morning, and before sun-down, fell
upon forty-lodges, and killed all their inhabi
tants, except two squaws! whom I captured and
made prisoners. During this attack I killed
seven men and two boys, with my own hand.
life of 25Iacft
In this engagement many of the bravest war
riors among the Osages were killed, which
caused the balance of their nation to remain
on their own lands, and cease their aggressions
upon our hunting grounds.
The loss of my father, by the Cherokees,
made me anxious to avenge his death, by the
annihilation, if pos-sible, of all their race.
I accordingly commenced recruiting another
party to go against them. Having succeeded
in this, I started, with my party, and went into
their country, but only found five of their
people, whom I took prisoners. I afterwards
released four men the other, a young squaw,
we brought home. Great as was my hatred
for this people, I could not kill so small a party.
During the close of the ninth moon, I led a
large party against the Chippewas, Kaskaskias
and Osages. This was the commencement of
a long and arduous campaign, which terminated
in my thirty-fifth year ; having had seven reg
ular engagements, and a number of small skir
mishes. During this campaign, several hundred
of the enemy were slain. I killed thirteen of
their bravest warriors, with my own hand.
Our enemies having now been driven from our
hunting grounds, with so great a loss as they
sustained, we returned, in peace, to our villages ;
and, after the seasons of mourning and burying
our dead relations, and of feast-dancing, had
passed, we commenced preparations for our
winter s hunt, in which we were very successful.
itife of 25Iacfe fatoft
We generally paid a visit to St. Louis every
summer; but, in consequence of the protracted
war in which we had been engaged, I had not
been there for some years. Our difficulties
having all been settled, I concluded to take a
small party, that summer, and go down to see
our Spanish father. We went and on our
arrival, put up our lodges where the market-
house now stands. After painting and dress
ing, we called to  see our Spanish father,
and were well received. He gave us a variety
of presents, and plenty of provisions. We
danced through the town as usual, and its
inhabitants all seemed to be well pleased.
They appeared to us like brothers and always
gave us good advice.
On my next, and last visit to my Spanish
father, I discovered, on landing, that all was
not right: every countenance seemed sad and
gloomy! I inquired the cause, and was in
formed that the Americans were coming to
take possession of the town and country! and
that we should then lose our Spanish father! 5
This news made myself and band sad because
we had always heard bad accounts of the Amer
icans from Indians who had lived near them!
and we were sorry to lose our Spanish
5 By a secret treaty Louisiana had been transferred
from Spain to France in 1800. Without ever having
taken formal possession of the country, Napoleon
sold it to the United States in 1803. Black Hawk
was apparently unaware of the part played by France
in the transfer.
3tife of 2Wacft
father, who had always treated us with great
A few days afterwards the Americans
arrived. I took my band, and went to take
leave, for the last time, of our father. The
Americans came to see him also. Seeing them
approach, we passed out at one door, as they
entered another and immediately started, in
canoes, for our village on Rock river not
liking the change any more than our friends
appeared to, at St. Louis.
On arriving at our village, we gave the news,
that strange people had taken St. Louis and
that we should never see our Spanish father
again ! This information made all our people
Some time afterwards, a boat came up the
river, with a young American chief, [Lieutenant
(afterwards Gen- eral) Pike,] and a small
party of soldiers. We heard of him, (by run
ners,) soon after he had passed Salt river.
Some of our young braves watched him every
day, to see what sort of people he had on board.
The boat, at length, arrived at Rock river, and
the young chief came on shore with his inter
preter made a speech, and gave us some
presents. We, in return, presented him with
meat, and such provisions as we could spare.
We were all well pleased with the speech of
the young chief. He gave us good advice;
said our American father would treat us well.
He presented us an American flag, which was
ttife of 2&lacft
hoisted. He then requested us to pull down
our British flags and give him our British
medals promising to send us others on his
return to St. Louis. This we declined, as we
wished to have two Fathers!
When the young chief started, we sent run
ners to the Fox village, some miles distant, to
direct them to treat him well as he passed
which they did. He went to the head of the
Mississippi, and then returned to St. Louis.
We did not see any Americans again for some
time, being supplied with goods by British
We were fortunate in not giving up our
medals for we learned afterwards, from our
traders, that the chiefs high up on the Missis
sippi, who gave theirs, never received any in
exchange for them. But the fault was not
with the young American chief. He was a
good man, and a great brave and died in his
country s service.
 Some moons after this young chief
descended the Mississippi, one of our people
killed an American and was confined, in the
prison at St. Louis, for the offence. 6 We
held a council at our village to see what could
6 Black Hawk is mistaken here as to the sequence
of events. The murder of the Americans (three in
stead of one were killed) occurred in the summer of
1804, and was followed by Governor Harrison s
treaty with the Sacs and Foxes in October of the
same year. Zebulpn Pike s expedition to the head
waters of the Mississippi took place in 1805-6.
Eife of 25Iacft
be done for him, which determined that
Quash-qua-me, Pa-she-pa-ho, Oti-che-qua-ka,
and Ha-she-quar-hi-qua, should go down to
St. Louis, see our American father, and do all
they could to have our friend released ; by
paying for the person killed thus covering
the blood, and satisfying the relations of the
man murdered! This being the only means
with us of saving a person who had killed
another and we then thought it was the same
way with the whites!
The party started with the good wishes of
the whole nation hoping they would accom
plish the object of their mission. The relatives
of the prisoner blacked their faces, and fasted
hoping the Great Spirit would take pity on
them, and return the husband and father to his
wife and children.
Quash-qua-me and party remained a long
time absent. They at length returned, and
encamped a short distance below the village
but did not come up that day nor did any
person approach their camp! They appeared
to be dressed in fine coats and had medals!
From these circumstances, we were in hopes
that they had brought good news. Early the
next morning, the Council Lodge was crowded
Quash-qua-me and party came up, and gave
us the following account of their mission:
"On their arrival at St. Louis, they met
their  American father, and explained to
him their business, and urged the release of
Sife of OTacft J^atoft
their friend. The American chief told them
he wanted land and they had agreed to give
him some on the west side of the Mississippi,
and some on the Illinois side opposite the Jef-
freon. When the business was all arranged,
they expected to have their friend released to
come home with them. But about the time
they were ready to start, their friend was let out
of prison, who ran a short distance, and was shot
dead! This is all they could recollect of what
was said and done. They had been drunk the
greater part of the time they were in St. Louis."
This is all myself or nation knew of the treaty
of 1804. It has been explained to me since. I
find, by that treaty, all our country, east of the
Mississippi, and south of the Jeff reon, was ceded
to the United States for one thousand dollars a
year! I will leave it to the people of the United
States to say, whether our nation was properly
represented in this treaty? or whether we receiv
ed a fair compensation for the extent of country
ceded by those four individuals ? I could say
much about this treaty, but I will not, at this
time. It has been the origin of all our difficulties.
Some time after this treaty was made, a war
chief, with a party of soldiers, came up in keel
boats, and encamped a short distance above
the head of the DesMoines rapids, and com
menced cutting timber and building houses. 7
7 This refers to the erection of Fort Madison,
Iowa, begun in the autumn of 1808. For its history
see Annals of Iowa, Third Series, III, 97-110.
Sife of 25iacft
The news of their arrival was soon carried to
all the villages when council after council
was held. We could not understand the inten
tion, or reason, why  the Americans wanted
to build houses at that place but were told
that they were a party of soldiers, who had
brought great guns with them and looked
liked a war party of whites!
A number of our people immediately went
down to see what was doing myself among
them. On our arrival, we found they were
building zfort! The soldiers were busily en
gaged in cutting timber ; and I observed that
they took their arms with them, when they
went to the woods and the whole party acted
as they would do in an enemy s country! The
chiefs held a council with the officers, or head
men, of the party which I did not attend
but understood from them that the war chief
had said, that they were building houses for a
trader, who was coming there to live, and
would sell us goods very cheap! and that these
soldiers were to remain to keep him company!
We were pleased at this information, and hoped
it was all true but we could not believe that
all these buildings were intended merely for the
accommodation of a trader! Being distrustful,
of their intentions, we were anxious for them
to leave off building, and go down the river
again. By this time, a considerable number
of Indians had arrived, to see what was doing.
I discovered that the whites were alarmed!
Eife of SMacft J^atofe
Some of our young men watched a party of
soldiers, who went out to work, carrying their
arms which were laid aside, before they com
menced. Having stole up quietly to the spot,
they seized the guns and gave a yell! The
party threw down their axes, and ran for 
their arms, but found them gone! and them
selves surrounded! Our young men laughed
at them, and returned them their guns.
When this party came to the fort, they
reported what had been done, and the war chief
made a serious affair of it. He called our
chiefs to council, inside of his fort. This cre
ated considerable excitement in our camp
every one wanted to know what was going to
be done and the picketing which had been
put up, being low every Indian crowded
round the fort, and got upon blocks of wood,
and old barrels, that they might see what was
going on inside. Some were armed with guns,
and others with bows and arrows. We used
this precaution, seeing that the soldiers had
their guns loaded and having seen them load
their big gun that morning !
A party of our braves commenced dancing,
and proceeded up to the gate, with an intention
of going in, but were stopped. The council
immediately broke up the soldiers, with their
arms in their hands, rushed out of their rooms,
where they had been concealed the cannon
was hauled in front of the gateway and a
soldier came running with fire in his hand,
life of 2Wacft
ready to apply the match. Our braves gave
way, and all retired to the camp.
There was no preconcerted plan to attack
the whites at that time but I am of opinion
now, had our party got into the fort, all
the whites would have been killed as the
British soldiers had been at Mackinac many
 We broke up our camp, and returned
to Rock river. A short time afterwards, the
fort party received a reinforcement among
whom we observed some of our old friends
from St. Louis.
Soon after our return from fort Madison,
runners came to our village from the Shawnee
Prophet* (whilst others were despatched by
him to the villages of the Winnebagoes,) with
invitations for us to meet him on the Wabash.
Accordingly a party went from each village.
All of our party returned, among whom came
a Prophet, who explained to us the bad treat
ment the different nations of Indians had re
ceived from the Americans, by giving them a
few presents, and taking their land from them.
I remember well his saying, "If you do not
join your friends on the Wabash, the Americans
will take this very village from you / " I little
thought, then, that his words would come true !
8 The brother of Tecumseh. For an account of
the enterprise carried on by these two men see
Quaife, Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1673-1835,
Itife of 2>Iacft
Supposing that he used these arguments merely
to encourage us to join him, we agreed that we
would not. He then returned to the Wabash,
where a party of Winnebagoes had arrived,
and preparations were making for war! A
battle soon ensued, 9 in which several Winne
bagoes were killed. As soon as their nation
heard of this battle, and that some of their
people had been killed, they started war parties
in different directions. One to the mining
country; one to Prairie du Chien, and another
to fort Madison. This last returned by our
village, and exhibited several scalps which they
had  taken. Their success induced several
other parties to go against the fort. Myself
and several of my band joined the last party,
and were determined to take the fort. 10 We
arrived in the vicinity during the night. The
spies that we had sent out several days before,
to watch the movements of those at the garri
son, and ascertain their numbers, came to us,
and gave the following information : That
a keel-boat had arrived from below that even
ing, with seventeen men; that there were about
fifty men in the fort, and that they marched
out every morning at sunrise, to exercise."
It was immediately determined that we should
9 The battle of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811.
10 This attack on Fort Madison was begun Septem
ber 5, 1812, almost a year after the battle of Tippe
canoe. It was precipitated probably by the fall of
Detroit, Mackinac, and Fort Dearborn in the summer
of 1812, rather than by the battle of Tippecanoe.
Hife of 2&toth l?atoh
take a position as near as we could, (to conceal
ourselves,) to the place where the soldiers
would come; and when the signal was given,
each man to fire, and then rush into the fort.
I dug a hole with my knife, deep enough (by
placing a few weeds around it,) to conceal
myself. I was so near to the fort that I could
hear the sentinel walking. By day-break, I
had finished my work, and was anxiously await
ing the rising of the sun. The drum beat; I
examined the priming of my gun, and eagerly
watched for the gate to open. It did open
but instead of the troops marching out, a young
man came alone. The gate closed after him.
He passed close by me so near that I could
have killed him with my knife , but I let him pass.
He kept the path towards the river; and had
he went one step out of it, he must have come
upon us, and would have been killed. He
returned immediately, and entered the gate.
I  would now have rushed for the gate,
and entered it with him, but I feared that our
party was not prepared to follow me.
The gate opened again four men came out,
and went down to the river after wood. Whilst
they were gone, another man came out, and
walked towards the river was fired upon and
killed by a Winnebago. The others immedi
ately ran for the fort, and two of them were
killed. We then took shelter under the bank
out of reach of fire from the fort.
The firing now commenced from both parties
Itife of 25Iacft J^atoft
and continued all day. I advised our party
to set fire to the fort, and commenced prepar
ing arrows for that purpose. At night we
made the attempt, and succeeded to fire the
buildings several times, but without effect, as
the fire was always instantly extinguished.
The next day I took my rifle, and shot in two
the cord by which they hoisted their flag, and
prevented them from raising it again. We
continued firing until all our ammunition was
expended; and finding that we could not take
the fort, returned home, having had one Win-
nebago killed, and one wounded, during the
siege. I have since learned that the trader,
who lived in the fort, wounded the Winnebago
when he was scalping the first man that was
killed ! The Winnebago recovered, is now liv
ing, and is very friendly disposed towards the
trader, believing him to be a great brave!
Soon after our return home, news reached
us that a war was going to take place between
the British and  the Americans. Runners
continued to arrive from different tribes, all
confirming the report of the expected war.
The British agent, Col. Dixon, 11 was holding
11 Robert Dickson, the British trader, played an
important role in the West during the War of 1812,
being very influential in stirring up the Indians to
assist the British in the war. His relations with
Black Hawk and the Sacs are set forth in the fol
lowing pages. A great deal of material upon Dickson
has been published in the different volumes of the
Wisconsin Historical Collections.
Stfe of 25Iacft J^atoft
talks with, and making presents to, the differ
ent tribes. I had not made up my mind
whether to join the British or remain neutral.
I had not discovered one good trait in the char
acter of the Americans that had come to the^
country! They made fair promises, but never
fulfilled them! Whilst the British made but
few but we could always rely upon their word!
One of our people having killed a Frenchman
at Prairie du Chien, the British took him pris- N
oner, and said they would shoot him the next
day! 12 His family were encamped a short dis
tance below the mouth of the Ouisconsin. He
begged for permission to go and see them that
night, as he was to die the next day! They
permitted him to go, after promising to return
the next morning by sunrise. He visited his
family, which consisted of a wife and six chil
dren. I cannot describe their meeting and
parting, to be understood by the whites ; as it
appears that their feelings are acted upon by
certain rules laid down by their preachers!
whilst ours are governed only by the monitor
within us. He parted from his wife and chil
dren, hurried through the prairie to the fort,
and arrived in time! The soldiers were ready,
and immediately marched out and shot him
12 This evidently occurred during the British occu
pation of Prairie du Chien in 1814-15. An enter
taining account of such an affair is to be found in
"The Captive," one of a collection of Indian tales
in William J. Snelling s Tales of the Northwest-, or
Sketches of Indian Life and Character (Boston, 1830).
ilife of 25Iacft
down! I visited his family, and by hunting and
fishing, provided for them until they reached
 Why did the Great Spirit ever send the
whites to this island, to drive us from our
homes, and introduce among us poisonous
liquors, disease and death? They should have
remained on the island where the Great Spirit
first placed them. But I will proceed with
my story. My memory, however, is not very
good, since my late visit to the white people.
I have still a buzzing in my ears, from the
noise and may give some parts of my story
out of place ; but I will endeavor to be correct.
Several of our chiefs and head men were
called upon to go to Washington, to see their
Great Father. They started ; and during their
absence, I went to Peoria, on the Illinois river,
to see an old friend, a trader, 13 to get his advice.
He was a man that always told us the truth,
and knew every thing that was going on. When
I arrived at Peoria, he was not there, but had
13 This was Thomas Forsyth who for a decade
prior to the War of 1812 had been engaged in the fur
trade at Peoria, operating in partnership with his
half brother, John Kinzie of Chicago. In April,
1812, Forsyth was made sub-agent of Indian affairs,
and during the war labored valiantly to uphold Amer
ican interests in the region over which he was influ
ential with the natives. In 1819 he was appointed
Indian agent at Fort Armstrong (Rock Island), in
which position he continued until 1830. For much
material on his career see the volumes of the Wis
consin Historical Collections.
ttife of 25Iacft J^atoft
gone to Chicago. I visited the Pottawatomie
villages, and then returned to Rock river.
Soon after which, our friends returned from
their visit to our Great Father and related
what had been said and done. Their Great
Father (they said) wished us, in the event of a
war taking place with England, not to interfere
on either side but to remain neutral. He
did not want our help but wished us to hunt
and support our families, and live in peace. 14
He said that British traders would not be per
mitted to come on the Mississippi, to furnish
us with goods but we would be well supplied
by an American trader. 15 Our chiefs  then
told him that the British traders always gave
us credits in the fall, for guns, powder and
14 Black Hawk here states fairly the American
policy with respect to Indian participation in the war
for several years prior to its commencement and
for some time after this event. It proved a losing
policy, however, and before the close of the war the
Americans, like the British, were actively seeking
the assistance of the red men.
15 Due to the insistence of President Washington,
the American government had established a system
of government trading houses or "factories" for
supplying the Indians with goods at fair prices.
One of these was located at Fort Madison, and the
"trader" referred to was the factor, a salaried em
ployee of the government. No comprehensive ac
count of the government factory system has ever
been written. For a tentative sketch of its rise and
fall, written with especial reference to the operations
of the Chicago factory, see Quaife, op. cit., chap.
3tife of S&lacfe
goods, to enable us to hunt, and clothe our
families. He replied that the trader at fort
Madison would have plenty of goods that we
should go there in the fall, and he would sup
ply us on credit, as the British traders had
done. The party gave a good account of
what they had seen, and the kind treatment
This information pleased us all very much.
We all agreed to follow our Great Father s
advice, and not interfere with the war. Our
women were much pleased at this good news.
Every thing went on cheerfully in our village.
We resumed our pastimes of playing ball,
horse racing, and dancing, which had been
laid aside when this great war was first talked
We had fine crops of corn, which were now
ripe and our women were engaged in gather
ing it, and making cashes to contain it. In a
short time we were ready to start to fort Madi
son, to get our supply of goods, that we might
proceed to our hunting grounds. We passed
merrily down the river all in high spirits.
I had determined to spend the winter at my
old favorite hunting ground, on Skunk river,
and left part of my corn and mats at its mouth,
to take up when I returned: others did the
same. Next morning we arrived at the fort,
and made our encampment. Myself and prin
cipal men paid a visit to the war chief at the
fort. He received us kindly, and gave us
Htfe of SMacfe
some  tobacco, pipes and provision. The
trader came in, and we all rose and shook
hands with him for on him all our depend
ence was placed, to enable us to hunt, and
thereby support our families. We waited a
long time, expecting the trader would tell us
that he had orders from our Great Father to
supply us with goods but he said nothing on
the subject. I got up, and told him, in a short
speech, what we had come for and hoped he
had plenty of goods to supply us and told
him that he should be well paid in the spring
and concluded, by informing him, that we
had determined to follow our Great Father s
advice, and not go to war.
He said that he was happy to hear that we
intended to remain at peace. That he had a
large quantity of goods; and that, if we made
a good hunt, we would be well supplied: but
remarked, that he had received no instructions
to furnish us any thing on credit! nor could
he give us any without receiving the pay for
them on the spot!
We informed him what our Great Father had
told our chiefs at Washington and contended
that he could supply us if he would believing
that our Great Father always spoke the truth!
But the war chief said that the trader could
not furnish us on credit and that he had
received no instructions from our Great Father
at Washington! We left the fort dissatisfied,
and went to our camp. What was now to be
Hife of 25Iacft I^atoft
done, we knew not. We questioned the party
that  brought us the news from our Great
Father, that we would get credit for our win
ter s supplies, at this place. They still told
the same story, and insisted upon its truth.
Few of us slept that night all was gloom and
In the morning, a canoe was seen descend
ing the river it soon arrived, bearing an
express, who brought intelligence that La
Gutrie, a British trader, had landed at Rock
Island, with two boats loaded with goods
and requested us to come up immediately
because he had good news for us and a variety
of presents. The express presented us with
tobacco, pipes and wampum.
The news run through our camp like fire in
the prairie. Our lodges were soon taken down,
and all started for Rock Island. Here ended
all hopes of our remaining at peace having
been forced into WAR by being DECEIVED!
Our party were not long in getting to Rock
Island. When we came in sight, and saw tents
pitched, we yelled, fired our guns, and com
menced beating our drums. Guns were im
mediately fired at the island, returning our
salute and a British flag hoisted! We landed,
and were cordially received by La Gutrie
and then smoked the pipe with him! After
which he made a speech to us, that had been
sent by Colonel Dixon, and gave us a number
of handsome presents a large silk flag, and a
Sife of SMacft
keg of rum, and told us to retire take some
refreshments and rest ourselves, as he would
have more to say to us on the next day.
 We, accordingly, retired to our lodges,
(which had been put up in the mean time,)
and spent the night. The next morning we
called upon him, and told him that we wanted
his two boats load of goods to divide among
our people for which he should be well paid
in the spring with furs and peltries. He con
sented told us to take them and do as we
pleased with them. Whilst our people were
dividing the goods, he took me aside, and in
formed me that Col. Dixon was at Green Bay,
with twelve boats, loaded with goods, guns,
and ammunition and wished me to raise a
party immediately and go to him. He said
that our friend, the trader at Peoria, was col
lecting the Pottawatomies, and would be there
before us. I communicated this information
to my braves, and a party of two hundred war
riors were soon collected and ready to depart.
I paid a visit to the lodge of an old friend,
who had been the comrade of my youth, and
had been in many war parties with me, but
was now crippled, and no longer able to
travel. He had a son that I had adopted as
my own, who had hunted with me the two
preceding winters. I wished my old friend to
let him go with me. He objected, saying that
he could not get his support if his son left him:
that I, (who had always provided for him since
Hife of 2Macfc
he got lame,) would be gone, and he had no
other dependence than his son. I offered to
leave my son in his place but he still refused.
He said he did not like the war he had been
 down the river, and had been well treated
by the Americans, and could not fight against
them. He had promised to winter near a
white settler above Salt river, and must take
his son with him. We parted. I soon con
cluded my arrangements, and started with my
party to Green Bay. On our arrival there, we
found a large encampment, and were well re
ceived by Dixon, and the war chiefs that were
with him. He gave us plenty of provisions,
tobacco and pipes, and said he would hold a
council with us the next day.
In the encampment, I found a large number
of Pottowatomies, Kickapoos, Ottawas and
Winnebagoes. I visited all their camps, and
found them in high spirits. They had all re
ceived new guns, ammunition, and a variety of
clothing. In the evening a messenger came
to me to visit Col. Dixon. I went to his tent,
in which were two other war chiefs, and an
interpreter. He received me with a hearty
shake of the hand, and presented me to the
other chiefs, who shook my hand cordially, and
seemed much pleased to see me. After I was
seated, Col. Dixon said: "Gen. Black Hawk,
I sent for you, to explain to you what we are
going to do, and the reasons that have brought
us here. Our friend, La Gutrie, informs us
Eife of 25Iatft
in the letter you brought from him, what has
lately taken place. You will now have to hold
us fast by the hand. Your English father has
found out that the Americans want to take
your country from you and has sent me and
 his braves to drive them back to their own
country. He has, likewise, sent a large quan
tity of arms and ammunition and we want
all your warriors to join us."
He then placed a medal round my neck,
and gave me a paper, (which I lost in the late
war,) and a silk flag, saying "You are to
command all the braves that will leave here
the day after to-morrow, to join our braves
I told him that I was very much disappointed
as I wanted to descend the Mississippi, and
make war upon the settlements. He said he
had been "ordered to lay the country waste
around St. Louis that he had been a trader on
the Mississippi many years had always been
kindly treated, and could not consent to send
brave men to murder women and children! That
there were no soldiers there to fight; but where
he was going to send us, there were a number of
soldiers: and, if we defeated them, the Missis
sippi country should be ours!" I was pleased
with this speech; it was spoken by a brave!
I inquired about my old friend, the trader,
at Peoria, and observed, "that I expected he
would have been here before me." He shook
his head, and said he "had sent express after
Stife of 2Macfc l^atoft
express to him, and had off ere d him large sums
of money, to come, and bring all the Pottowat-
omies and Kickapoos with him; but he refused,
saying, your British father had not money enough
to induce him to join us! 1 have now  laid
a trap for him, I have sent Gomo, and a party
of Indians, to take him prisoner, and bring
him here alive. 16 I expect him in a few days."
The next day, arms and ammunition, toma
hawks, knives, and clothing, were given to
my band. We had a great feast in the even
ing; and the morning following, I started with
about five hundred braves, to join the British
army. The British war chief accompanied us.
We passed Chicago. The fort had been evac
uated by the American soldiers, who had
marched for fort Wayne. They were attacked
a short distance from that fort, and defeated!
They had a considerable quantity of powder
in the fort at Chicago, which they had prom
ised to the Indians; but the night before
they marched, they destroyed it. I think it
was thrown into the well! If they had ful
filled their word to the Indians, I think they
would have gone safe. 17
16 Gomo was chief of a band Potowatomi residing
on the Illinois River above Peoria. Throughout the
war he adhered to the American cause, and was on
friendly terms with Forsyth.
17 An interesting opinion, but not necessarily con
clusive of the question. On the whole subject of the
Fort Dearborn massacre of August 15, 1812, see
Quaife, op. ctt., especially chap. XII.
Jlife of 2Macft
On our arrival, I found that the Indians
had several prisoners, I advised them to treat
them well. We continued our march, and
joined the British army below Detroit; and
soon after had a fight ! The Americans fought
well, and drove us with considerable loss! I
was surprised at this, as I had been told that
the Americans could not fight!
Our next movement was against a fortified
place. I was stationed, with my braves, to
prevent any person going to, or coming from
the fort. I found two men taking care of
cattle, and took them prisoners. I would not
kill them, but delivered them to the British 
war chief. Soon after, several boats came
down the river, full of American soldiers.
They landed on the opposite side, took the
British batteries, and pursued the soldiers that
had left them. They went too far, without
knowing the forces of the British, and were
defeated! I hurried across the river, anxious
for an opportunity to show the courage of my
braves; but before we reached the ground, all
was over! The British had taken many pris
oners, and the Indians were killing them! I
immediately put a stop to it, as I never thought
it brave, but cowardly, to kill an unarmed and
We remained here some time. I cannot
detail what took place, as I was stationed, with
my braves, in the woods. It appeared, how
ever, that the British could not take this fort
Hifc of 2Wacft
for we were marched to another some distance
off. When we approached it, I found it a
small stockade, and concluded that there were
not many men in it. The British war chief sent
a flag Colonel Dixon carried it, and returned.
He said a young war chief commanded, and
would not give up without fighting! Dixon
came to me and said, "you will see, to-morrow,
how easily we will take that fort." I was of
opinion that they would take it; but when the
morning came, I was disappointed. The Brit
ish advanced commenced an attack, and
fought like braves; but by braves in the
fort, were defeated, and a great number killed!
The British army were making preparations to
retreat. I  was now tired of being with
them our success being bad, and having got
no plunder. I determined on leaving them
and returning to Rock river, to see what had
become of my wife and children, as I had not
heard from them since I started. That night,
I took about twenty of my braves, and left the
British camp for home. We met no person
on our journey until we reached the Illinois
river. Here we found two lodges of Pottawat-
omies. They received us very friendly, and
gave us something to eat; and inquired about
their friends that were with the British. They
said there had been some fighting on the Illinois,
and that my old friend, the trader at Peoria,
had been taken prisoner! "By Gomo and his
party?" I immediately inquired. They said
te of 25Iacft f atofe
"no; but by the Americans, who came up with
two boats. They took him and the French
settlers, and then burnt the village of Peoria." 18
They could give us no news respecting our
people on Rock river. In three days more, we
were in the vicinity of our village, when I dis
covered a smoke ascending from a hollow in
the bluffs. I directed my party to proceed to
the village, as I wished to go alone to the
place from whence the smoke proceeded, to
see who was there. I approached the spot,
and when I came in view of the fire, saw a mat
stretched, and an old man sitting under it in
sorrow. At any other time, I would have
turned away without disturbing him knowing
that he had come there to be alone t to humble
himself before  the Great Spirit, that He
might take pity on him! I approached and
seated myself beside him. He gave one look
at me, and then fixed his eyes on the ground!
// was my old friend ! I anxiously inquired
for his son, (my adopted child,) and what had
befallen our people ? My old comrade seemed
scarcely alive he must have fasted a long time .
I lighted my pipe, and put it in his mouth. He
eagerly drew a few puffs cast up his eyes,
which met mine, and recognized me. His eyes
were glassy! He would again have fallen off
into forgetfulness, had I not given him some
18 The old French village at Peoria was plundered
and burned early in November, 1812, by a force of
Illinois militia under Captain Thomas E. Craig.
3life of SWacft J^atoft
water, which revived him. I again inquired,
"what has befallen our people, and what has
become of our son? "
In a feeble voice, he said: " Soon after your
departure to join the British, I descended the
river with a small party, to winter at the place
I told you the white man had requested me to
come to. When we arrived, I found a fort
built, and the white family that had invited me
to come and hunt near them, had removed to
it. I then paid a visit to the fort, to tell the
white people that myself and little band were
friendly, and that we wished to hunt in the
vicinity of their fort. The war chief who com
manded it, told me, that we might hunt on the
Illinois side of the Mississippi, and no person
would trouble us. That the horsemen only
ranged on the Missouri side, and he had directed
them not to cross the river. I was pleased
with this assurance of safety, and immediately
crossed over and made my winter s camp.
Game was plenty; we liv-ed happy, and
often talked of you. My boy regretted your
absence, and the hardships you would have
to undergo. We had been here about two
moons, when my boy went out, as usual, to
hunt. Night came on, and he did not return!
I was alarmed for his safety, and passed a
sleepless night. In the morning, my old woman
went to the other lodges and gave the alarm
and all turned out in pursuit. There being
snow on the ground, they soon came upon his
ffiifc of SMacfc i^atoft
track, and after pursuing it some distance ,
found he was on the trail of a deer, that led
towards the river. They soon came to the
place where he had stood and fired, and found a
deer hanging upon the branch of a tree, which
had been skinned. But here were found the
tracks of white men ! They had taken my boy
prisoner. Their tracks led across the river,
and then down towards the fort. My friends
followed them, and soon found my boy lying
dead! He had been most cruelly murdered!
His face was shot to pieces his body stabbed
in several places and his head scalped ! His
arms were tied behind him!"
The old man paused for some time, and
then told me that his wife had died on her way
up the Mississippi! I took the hand of my
old friend in mine, and pledged myself to
avenge the death of his son! It was now dark
a terrible storm commenced raging, with
heavy torrents of rain, thunder and lightning.
I had taken my blanket off and wrapped it
around the old man. When the storm abated,
I kindled a fire,  and took hold of my old
friend to remove him near to it but he was
dead! I remained with him the balance of the
night. Some of my party came early in the
morning to look for me, and assisted me in
burying him on the peak of the bluff. I then
returned to the village with my friends. I vis
ited the grave of my old friend the last time,
as I ascended Rock river.
Eife of SMacft
On my arrival at the village, I was met by
the chiefs and braves, and conducted to a lodge
that had been prepared to receive me. After
eating, I gave an account of what I had seen
and done. I explained to them the manner
the British and Americans fought. Instead of
stealing upon each other, and taking every
advantage to kill the enemy and save their own
people, as we do, (which, with us, is consid
ered good policy in a war chief,) they marched
out, in open daylight, and fight, regardless of
the number of warriors they may lose ! After
the battle is over, they retire to feast, and drink
wine, as if nothing had happened; after which,
they make a statement in writing, of what they
have done each party claiming the victory !
and neither giving an account of half the num
ber that have been killed on their own side.
They all fought like braves, but would not do
to lead a war party with us. Our maxim is,
"to kill the enemy and save our own men."
Those chiefs would do to paddle a canoe, but
not to steer it. The Americans shoot better
than the British, but their soldiers are not so
well clothed, or provided for.
 The village chief informed me that after
I started with my braves and the parties who
followed, the nation was reduced to so small a
party of fighting men, that they would have
been unable to defend themselves, if the Amer
icans had attacked them; that all the women
and children, and old men, belonging to the
Jtife of 25lach f atoft
warriors who had joined the British, were left
with them to provide for; and that a council
was held, which agreed that Quash-qua-me,
the Lance, and other chiefs, with the old men,
women, and children, and such others as chose
to accompany them, should descend the Mis
sissippi and go to St. Louis, and place them
selves under the protection of the American
chief stationed there. They accordingly went
down to St. Louis, and were received as the
friendly band of our nation sent up the Mis
souri, and provided for, whilst their friends
were assisting the British !
Ke-o-kuck was then introduced to me as the
war-chief of the braves then in the village. 19
I inquired how he had become a chief. They
said that a large armed force was seen by their
spies, going towards Peoria; that fears were
entertained that they would come upon and at
tack our village; and that a council had been
convened to decide upon the best course to be
adopted, which concluded upon leaving the
village and going on the west side of the Mis
sissippi, to get out of the way. Ke-o-kuck,
19 Although not a chief by birth, Keokuk rose by
the exercise of political talents to a position of
leadership in his tribe. He followed the policy of
favoring the Americans. Black Hawk regarded him,
therefore, with especial dislike, a feeling which was
heightened, no doubt, by the element of personal
rivalry between the two. In the end Keokuk triumph
ed over his rival, his victory being consolidated by
the fatal result, for Black Hawk, of his war of 1832.
Hife of 2>lach
during the sitting of the council, had been
standing at the door of the lodge, (not being
allowed to enter, having never killed an en-[4Q]
emy,) where he remained until old Wa-co-me
came out. He then told him that he had heard
what they had decided upon, and was anxious
to be permitted to go in and speak, before the
council adjourned! Wa-co-me returned, and
asked leave for Ke-o-kuck to come in and make
a speech. His request was granted. Ke-o-
kuck entered, and addressed the chiefs. He
said, " I have heard with sorrow, that you have
determined to leave our village, and cross the
Mississippi, merely because you have been told
that the Americans were seen coming in this
direction ! Would you leave our village, desert
our homes, and fly, before an enemy approaches?
Would you leave all even the graves of our
fathers, to the mercy of an enemy, without
trying to defend them? Give me charge of
your warriors; I ll defend the village, and you
may sleep in safety!"
The council consented that Ke-o-kuck should
be a war-chief. He marshalled his braves
sent out spies and advanced with a party him
self, on the trail leading to Peoria. They return
ed without seeing an enemy. The Americans
did not come by our village . All were well satis
fied with the appointment of Ke-o-kuck. He
used every precaution that our people should
not be surprised. This is the manner in which,
and the cause of, his receiving the appointment.
Hife of 2Marft f atoft
I was satisfied, and then started to visit my
wife and children. I found them well, and my
boys were  growing finely. It is not cus
tomary for us to say much about our women,
as they generally perform their part cheerfully,
and never interfere with business belonging to
the men! This is the only wife I ever had, or
ever will have. She is a good woman, and
teaches my boys to be brave! Here I would
have rested myself, and enjoyed the comforts
of my lodge, but I could not: I had promised
to avenge the death of my adopted son!
I immediately collected a party of thirty
braves, and explained to them my object in
making this war party it being to avenge the
death of my adopted son, who had been cruelly
and wantonly murdered by the whites. I ex
plained to them the pledge I had made his father,
and told them that they were the last words
that he had heard spoken ! All were willing to
go with me, to fulfil my word. We started in
canoes, and descended the Mississippi, until
we arrived near the place where fort Madison
had stood. It had been abandoned by the
whites and burnt; nothing remained but the
chimneys. We were pleased to see that the
white people had retired from our country.
We proceeded down the river again. I landed,
with one brave, near Capo Gray; 20 the remain-
20 Cap (Cape) au Gris, a rocky promontory on the
Illinois bank of the Mississippi about a dozen miles
above the mouth of Cuivre River. Opposite it, on
life of 25Iaeft
der of the party went to the mouth of the
Quiver. I hurried across to the trail that led
from the mouth of the Quiver to a fort, and
soon after heard firing at the mouth of the
creek. Myself and brave concealed ourselves
on the side of the road. We had not re
mained  here long, before two men riding
one horse, came in full speed from the direc
tion of the sound of the firing. When they
came sufficiently near, we fired; the horse
jumped, and both men fell! We rushed to
wards them one rose and ran. I followed
him, and was gaining on him, when he ran over
a pile of rails that had lately been made, seized
a stick, and struck at me. I now had an oppor
tunity to see his face I knew him! He
had been at Quash-qua-me s village to learn
his people how to plough. We looked upon
him as a good man. I did not wish to kill him,
the Missouri bank, was built a fort, manned by
Missouri rangers. Not many miles away, in the
vicinity of Fort Howard, occurred the locally famous
Battle of the Sink Hole in May, 1815, Black Hawk s
account of which is given in the following pages.
An interesting account of this battle, written by a
participant on the other side, is printed in Wisconsin
Historical Collections, II, 213-18. The author char
acterizes Black Hawk s account as "quite strange
and confused," and supposes him to have described
here what really occurred to him at another time.
While this may be true in part, it is evident from a
comparison of the narratives that Black Hawk was
in the Sink Hole Battle and that he gives an account
of it which is at least partially correct.
Slife of SSiacfc f atoft
and pursued him no further. I returned and
met my brave ; he said he had killed the other
man, and had his scalp in his hand! We had
not proceeded far, before we met the man,
supposed to be killed, coming up the road,
staggering like a drunken man, all covered with
blood! This was the most terrible sight I had
ever seen. I told my comrade to kill him, to
put him out of his misery! I could not look
at him. I passed on, and heard a rustling in
the bushes, and distinctly saw two little boys
concealing themselves! I thought of my own
children, and passed on without noticing them!
My comrade here joingd me, and in a little
while we met the balance of our party. I told
them that we would be pursued, and directed
them to follow me. We crossed the creek,
and formed ourselves in the timber. We had
not been here long, before a party of mounted
men rushed at full speed upon us! I took
deliberate aim, and shot the man  leading
the party. He fell from his horse lifeless ! All
my people fired, but without effect. The en
emy rushed upon us without giving us time to
reload. They surrounded us, and forced us
to run into a deep sink-hole, at the bottom of
which there were some bushes. We loaded
our guns, and awaited the approach of the
enemy. They rushed to the edge of the hole
and fired, killing one of our men. We returned
the fire instantly, and killed one of their party!
We reloaded, and commenced digging holes in
Ilife of SSIatft l^atoft
the side of the bank to protect ourselves, whilst
a party watched the movements of the enemy,
expecting that their whole force would be upon
us immediately. Some of my warriors com
menced singing their death-songs! I heard the
whites talking and called to them, "to come
out and fight!" I did not like my situation,
and wished the matter settled. I soon heard
chopping and knocking. I could not imagine
what they were doing. Soon after they run up
wheels with a battery on it, and fired down
without hurting any of us. I called to them
again, and told them if they were "brave men,
to come down and fight* us. They gave up the
siege, and returned to their fort about dusk.
There were eighteen in this trap with me. We
all got out safe, and found one white man dead
on the edge of the sink-hole. They did not
remove him, for fear of our fire. We scalped
him, and placed our dead man upon him! We
could not have left him in a better situation,
than on an enemy!
 We had now effected our purpose, and
started back by land thinking it unsafe to
return in our canoes. I found my wife and
children, and the greater part of our people,
at the mouth of the loway river. I now deter
mined to remain with my family, and hunt for
them; and humble myself before the Great
Spirit, and return thanks to him for preserving
me through the war!
I made my hunting camp on English river,
ife of SMacft
(a branch of the loway.) During the winter
a party of Pottawatomies came from the Illinois
to pay me a visit among them was Wash-e-
own, an old man, that had formerly lived in
our village. He informed us, that, in the fall,
the Americans had built a fort at Peoria, and
had prevented them from going down to the
Sangomo to hunt. He said they were very
much distressed that Gomo had returned
from the British army, and brought news of
their defeat near Maiden; and told us that he
went to the American chief with a flag; gave
up fighting, and told the chief that he wished
to make peace for his nation. The American
chief gave him a paper for the war chief at the
fort at Peoria, and I visited that fort with Gomo.
It was then agreed that there should be no more
fighting between the Americans and Pottawat
omies; and that two of their chiefs, and eight
braves, with five Americans, had gone down
to St. Louis to have the peace confirmed. This,
said Wash-e-own, is good news; for we can
now go to our hunting-grounds:  and, for
my part, I never had anything to do with this
war. The Americans never killed any of our
people before the war, nor interfered with our
hunting grounds; and I resolved to do nothing
against them! I made no reply to these re
marks, as the speaker was old, and talked like
We gave the Pottawatomies a feast. I pre
sented Wash-e-own with a good horse; my
Sife of 22lacft i^atoft
braves gave one to each of his party, and, at
parting, they said they wished us to make peace
which we did not promise but told them
that we would not send out war parties against
A short time after the Pottawatomies left, a
party of thirty braves, belonging to our nation,
from the peace camp on the Missouri, paid us a
visit. They exhibited five scalps, which they
had taken on the Missouri, and wished us to
dance over them, which we willingly joined in.
They related the manner in which they had
taken these scalps. Myself and braves then
showed the two we had taken, near the Quiver,
and told them the reason that induced that war
party to go out; as well as the manner, and
difficulty we had in obtaining these scalps.
They recounted to us all that had taken place
the number that had been killed by the peace
party, as they were called and recognized
which far surpassed what our warriors, who
had joined the British, had done! This party
came for the pur- [5 5] pose of joining the Brit
ish! I advised them to return to the peace
party, and told them the news that the Potta
watomies had brought. They returned to the
Missouri, accompanied by some of my braves,
whose families were with the peace party.
After sugar-making was over, in the spring,
I visited the Fox village, at the lead mines.
They had nothing to do with the war, and
were not in mourning. I remained there some
Eife of 25lacft l^atoft
days, and spent my time pleasantly with them,
in dancing and feasting. I then paid a visit
to the Pottawatomie village, on the Illinois
river, and learned that Sa-na-tu-wa and Ta-
ta-puc-key had been to St. Louis. Gomo told
me "that peace had been made between his
people and the Americans, and that seven of
his party remained with the war chief to make
the peace stronger!" He then told me that
" Wash-e-own was dead! That he had been
to the fort, to carry some wild fowl, to ex
change for tobacco, pipes, etc. That he
had got some tobacco and a little flour, and
left the fort before sun-down; but had not
proceeded far before he was shot dead, by a
war chief who had concealed himself near the
path, for that purpose! and then dragged
him to the lake and threw him in, where I
afterwards found him. I have since given
two horses and my rifle to his relations, not to
break the peace which they had agreed to."
I remained some time at the village with
Gomo, and  went with him to the fort to
pay a visit to the war chief. I spoke the Pot
tawatomie tongue well, and was taken for one
of their people by the chief. He treated us
very friendly, and said he was very much dis
pleased about the murder of Wash-e-own,
and would find out, and punish the person that
killed him. He made some inquiries about
the Sacs, which I answered.
On my return to Rock river, I was informed
itife of 25Iath l^atofe
that a party of soldiers had gone up the Mis
sissippi to build a fort at Prairie du Chien.
They had stopped near our village, and ap
peared to be friendly, and were kindly treated
by our people.
We commenced repairing our lodges, putting
our village in order, and clearing our corn
fields. We divided the fields of the party on
the Missouri, among those that wanted, on
condition that they should be relinquished to
the owners, when they returned from iht peace
establishment. We were again happy in our
village: our women went cheerfully 10 work,
and all moved on harmoniously.
Some time afterwards, five or six boats
arrived, loaded with soldiers, going to Prairie
du Chien, to reinforce the garrison. They
appeared friendly, and were well received.
We held a council with the war chief. We
had no intention of hurting him, or any of his
party, or we could easily have defeated them.
They remained with us all day, and used, and
gave us, plenty of whiskey! During the night
a party  arrived, (who came down Rock
river,) and brought us six kegs of powder!
They told us that the British had gone to Prai
rie du Chien, and taken the fort, and wished us
to join them again in the war, which we agreed
to. I collected my warriors, and determined
to pursue the boats, which had sailed with a
fair wind. If we had known the day before,
we could easily have taken them all, as the
Hife of 25Iatft
war chief used no precautions to prevent it.
I immediately started with my party, by land,
in pursuit thinking that some of their boats
might get aground, or that the Great Spirit
would put them in our power, if he wished
them taken, and their people killed! About
half way up the rapids, I had a full view of the
boats, all sailing with a strong wind. I soon
discovered that one boat was badly managed,
and was suffered to be driven ashore by the
wind. They landed, by running hard aground,
and lowered their sail. The others passed on.
This boat the Great Spirit gave us! We ap
proached it cautiously, and fired upon the men
on shore. All that could, hurried aboard, but
they were unable to push off, being fast
aground. We advanced to the river s bank,
under cover, and commenced firing at the
boat. Our balls passed through the plank,
and did execution, as I could hear them scream
ing in the boat! I encouraged my braves to
continue firing. Several guns were fired from
the boat, without effect. I prepared my bow
and arrows to throw fire to the sail, which was
lying on the boat; and, after two or three at
tempts, succeeded in setting the sail on fire.
 The boat was soon in flames! About
this time, one of the boats that had passed,
returned, dropped anchor, and swung in close
to the boat on fire, and took off all the people,
except those killed and badly wounded. We
could distinctly see them passing from one
itife of 2Macft
boat to the other, and fired on them with good
aim. We wounded the war chief in this way!
Another boat now came down, dropped her
anchor, which did not take hold, and was
drifted ashore ! The other boat cut her cable
and rowed down the river, leaving their com
rades without attempting to assist them. We
then commenced an attack upon this boat, and
fired several rounds. They did not return the
fire. We thought they were afraid, or had
but a small number on board. I therefore
ordered a rush to the boat. When we got
near, they fired, and killed two of our people,
being all that we lost in the engagement.
Some of their men jumped out and pushed off
the boat, and thus got away without losing a
man! I had a good opinion of this war chief
he managed so much better than the other.
It would give me pleasure to shake him by the
We now put out the fire on the captured
boat, to save the cargo; when a skiff was dis
covered coming down the river. Some of our
people cried out, "here comes an express
from Prairie du Chien!" We hoisted the
British flag, but they would not land. They
turned their little boat around, and rowed up
the river. We directed a few shots at them,
21 For the contemporary American account of this
battle, as printed in the Missouri Gazette, July 30,
1814, see Frank E. Stevens, The Black Hawk War
(Chicago, 1903), 48-50.
I! iff of
in order to bring them /<?y but they were so
far off that we could  not hurt them. I
found several barrels of whiskey on the cap
tured boat, and knocked in their heads and
emptied out the bad medicine! I next found
a box full of small bottles and packages, which
appeared to be bad medicine also; such as the
medicine-men kill the white people with when
they get sick. This I threw into the river ;
and continuing my search for plunder, found
several guns, large barrels full of clothing,
and some cloth lodges, all of which I distrib
uted among my warriors. We now disposed
of the dead, and returned to the Fox village,
opposite the lower end of Rock Island; where
we put up our new lodges and hoisted the British
flag. A great many of our braves were dressed
in the uniform clothing which we had taken,
which gave our encampment the appearance of
a regular camp of soldiers! We placed out
sentinels, and commenced dancing over the
scalps we had taken. Soon after, several boats
passed down; among them, a large boat carry
ing big guns! Our young men followed them
some distance, firing at them, but could not
do much damage, more than to frighten them.
We were now certain that the fort at Prairie
du Chien had been taken, as this large boat
went up with the first party, who built the fort.
In the course of the day some of the British
came down in a small boat; they had followed
the large one, thinking she would get fast in
Hife of SMacft i^atoft
the rapids, in which case they were certain of
taking her. They had summoned her on the
way down to surrender, but  she refused;
and now, that she had passed over the rapids
in safety, all hope of taking her had vanished.
The British landed a big gun, and gave us
three soldiers to manage it. They compli
mented us for our bravery in taking the boat,
and told us what they had done at Prairie du
Chien; 22 gave us a keg of rum, and joined with
us in our dancing and feasting! We gave
them some things which we had taken from
the boat particularly books and papers.
They started the next morning, after promis
ing to return in a few days with a large body
We went to work, under the directions of
the men left with us, and dug up the ground in
two places, to put the big gun in, that the men
might remain in with it, and be safe. We
then sent spies down the river to reconnoitre,
who sent word by a runner, that several boats
were coming up, filled with men. I marshalled
22 For a sketch of the British-American military
operations centering at Prairie du Chien during the
War of 1812, see Reuben G. Thwaites, Wisconsin,
The Americanization of a French Common-wealth ( Bos
ton, 1908), 172-78; also the article entitled "Credit
Island, 1814-1914," in Journal of the Illinois State
Historical Society, for January, 1915. A large amount
of documentary material pertaining to the subject
has been printed in the volumes of the Wisconsin
3tife of 25lacfe J^atofe
my forces, and was soon ready for their arrival,
and resolved to fight as we had not yet had
a fair fight with the Americans during the war.
The boats arrived in the evening, and stopped
at a small willow island, nearly opposite to us.
During the night we removed our big gun
further down, and at daylight next morning,
commenced firing. We were pleased to see
that almost every fire took effect, striking the
boats nearly every shot. They pushed off as
quick as possible; and I expected would land
and give a fight. I was prepared to meet them
but was soon sadly disap-\b\\pointed\ the
boats having all started down the river. A party
of braves followed to watch where they landed;
but they did not stop until they got below
the Des Moines rapids, when they landed, and
commenced building a fort.
(j collected a few braves, and started to the
place where it was reported they were making
a fort. 23 I did not want a fort in our country,
as we wished to go down in the fall, to the
Two-River country, to hunt it being our best
hunting ground; and we concluded, that if this
fort was established, we should be prevented
from going to our hunting ground. I arrived
in the vicinity of the fort in the evening, and
23 Fort Johnson, near modern Warsaw, Hancock
County, 111., built by Major Zachary Taylor after his
repulse at Black Hawk s hands near Rock Island.
In October of the same year the fort was abandoned
stopped for the night, on the peak of a high bluff.
We made no fire, for fear of being observed.
Our young men kept watch by turns, whilst the
others slept. I was very tired, and soon went
to sleep. The Great Spirit, during my slum
ber, told me to go down the bluff to a creek
that I would there find a hollow tree cut
down; to look into the top of it, and I would
see a large snake to observe the direction he
was looking, and I would see the enemy close
by, and unarmed. In the morning, I commu
nicated to my braves what the Great Spirit had
told me; and took one of them and went down
a hollow that led to the creek, and soon came in
sight of the place, on an opposite hill, where
they were building the fort. I saw a great
many men. We crawled cautiously on our
hands and knees, until we got into the bottom
then, through the  grass and weeds,
until we reached the bank of the creek. Here
I found a tree that had been cut down. I
looked in the top of it, and saw a large snake,
with his head raised, looking across the creek. I
raised myself cautiously, and discovered, nearly
opposite to me, two war chiefs walking arm-in
arm, without guns. They turned, and walked
back towards the place where the men were
working at the fort. In a little while they
returned, walking immediately towards the
spot where we lay concealed but did not
come as near as before. If they had, they
would have been killed for each of us had a
Sife of 2Macft f atoft
good rifle. We crossed the creek, and crawled
to a bunch of bushes. I again raised myself a
little, to see if they were coming; but they
went into the fort. By this they saved their
We recrossed the creek; and I returned
alone going up the hollow we came down.
My brave went down the creek; and, on rising
a hill to the left of the one we came down, I
could plainly see the men at work; and discov
ered, in the bottom, near the mouth of the
creek, a sentinel walking. I watched him
attentively, to see if he perceived my com
panion, who had gone towards him. The
sentinel walked first one way and then back
again. I observed my brave creeping towards
him. The sentinel stopped for some time, and
looked in the direction where my brave was
concealed. He laid still, and did not move the
grass; and, as the sentinel turned to walk, my
 brave fired and he fell! I looked towards
the fort, and saw that they were all in confusion
running in every direction some down a
steep bank to a boat. My comrade joined me,
and we returned to the rest of our party, and all
hurried back to Rock river, where we arrived
in safety at our village. I hung up my med
icine bag, put away my rifle and spear, and felt
as if I should not want them again, as I had
no wish to raise any more war parties against
the whites, without they gave new provocation.
Nothing particular happened from this time
Hife of 25Iatft I^atoft
until spring, except news that the fort below
the rapids had been abandoned and burnt by
Soon after I returned from my wintering
ground, we received information that peace had
been made between the British and Americans,
and that we were required to make peace also
and were invited to go down to Portage des
Sioux, for that purpose. 24 Some advised that
we should go down others that we should
not. No-mite, our principal civil chief, said
he would go, as soon as the Foxes came down
from the Mines. They came, and we all
started from Rock river. We had not gone
far, before our chief was taken sick. We
stopped with him at the village on Henderson
river. The Foxes went on, and we were to
follow as soon as our chief got better; but he
continued to get worse, and died. His brother
now became the principal chief. He refused
24 On the conclusion of peace with Great Britain,
there remained the task of restoring peaceful rela
tions between the United States and the numerous
hostile tribes along the northern and western frontier.
For this purpose two sets of commissioners were
sent, one to Spring Wells near Detroit, the other to
Portage des Sioux above St. Louis. The members
of the latter were Governor Clark of Missouri, Gov
ernor Edwards of Illinois, and Auguste Chouteau of
St. Louis. About a score of treaties were negoti
ated with as many tribes during the summer of 1815.
Certain of the Sacs and Foxes still maintained a
belligerent attitude, however, and were not brought
to sign a treaty until the following year.
Eife of 25Iatft
to go down saying, that if he started, he
would be taken sick and  die, as his brother
had done which was reasonable! We all
concluded, that none of us would go at this
The Foxes returned. They said they "had
smoked the pipe of peace with the Americans,
and expected that a war party would be sent
against us, because we did not go down. This
I did not believe; as the Americans had always
lost by their war parties that came against us.
La Gutrie, and other British traders, arrived
at our village on Rock river, in the fall. La
Gutrie told us, that we must go down and
make peace that it was the wish of our Eng
lish father. He said he wished us to go down
to the Two-River country 25 to winter where
game was plenty, as there had been no hunting
there for several years.
Having heard that a principal war chief,
with troops, had come up, and commenced
building a fort near Rapids des Moines, we
consented to go down with the traders, to see
the American chief, and tell him the reason
why we had not been down sooner. We
arrived at the head of the rapids. Here the
traders left their goods and boats, except one,
in which they accompanied us to the Amer
icans. We visited the war chief, (he was on
board of a boat,) and told him what we
25 Probably this was the territory drained by the
Sife of 25Iacft
had to say explaining the reason we had
not been down sooner. He appeared angry,
and talked to La Gutrie for some time. I in
quired of him, what the war chief said ? He
told me that he was threatening to  hang
him up on the yard-arm of his boat. "But,"
said he, "I am not afraid of what he says.
He dare not put his threats into execution.
I have done no more than I had a right to do,
as a British subject."
I then addressed the chief, asking permis
sion for ourselves and some Menomonees, to
go down to the Two-River country to hunt.
He said, we might go down, but must return
before the ice made, as he did not intend that
we should winter below the fort. "But,"
said he, " what do you want the Menomonees to
go with you for?" I did not know, at first,
what reply to make but told him that they
had a great many pretty squaws with them,
and we wished them to go with us on that
account ! He consented. We all started down
the river, and remained all winter, as we had
no intention of returning before spring, when
we asked leave to go. We made a good hunt.
Having loaded our traders boats with furs and
peltries, they started to Mackinac, and we
returned to our village.
There is one circumstance which I omitted
to mention in its proper place. It does not
relate to myself or people, but to my friend
Gomo, the Pottowatomie chief. He came to
atife of S&Iacft f atofe
Rock river to pay me a visit. During his
stay, he related to me the following story:
"The war chief at Peoria is a very good
man; he always speaks the truth, and treats
our people well. He sent for me one day,
and told me that he was nearly out of provi
sion, and wished me to send my young men
out to hunt, to supply his fort. I promised to
do  so; and immediately returned to my
camp, and told my young men the wishes and
wants of the war chief. They readily, agreed
to go and hunt for our friend; and soon re
turned with about twenty deer. They carried
them to the fort, laid them down at the gate,
and returned to our camp. A few days after
wards, I went again to the fort to see if they
wanted more meat. The chief gave me some
powder and lead, and said he wished me to
send my hunters out again. When I returned
to my camp, and told my young men that the
chief wanted more meat, Ma-ta-tah, one of my
principal braves, said he would take a party
and go across the Illinois, about one day s
travel, where game was plenty, and make a
good hunt for our friend, the war chief. He
took eight hunters with him; his wife and sev
eral other squaws accompanied them. They
had travelled about half the day in the prairie,
when they discovered a party of white men
coming towards them with a drove of cattle.
Our hunters apprehended no danger, or they
would have kept out of the way of the whites,
Slife of 2Macft fatoft
(who had not yet perceived them.) Ma-ta-tah
changed his course, as he wished to meet and
speak to the whites. As soon as the whites
saw our party, some of them put off at full
speed, and came up to our hunters. Ma-ta-
tah gave up his gun to them, and endeavored
to explain to them that he was friendly, and
was hunting for the war chief. They were
not satisfied with this, but fired at and wounded
him. He got into the branch of a tree that
had been blown down, to  keep the horses
from running over him. He was again fired
on by several guns and badly wounded. He
found that he would be murdered, (if not
mortally wounded already,) and sprung at
the nearest man to him, seized his gun, and
shot him from his horse. He then fell, cov-
vered with blood from his wounds, and almost
"The other hunters, being in the rear of
Ma-ta-tah, seeing that the whites had killed
him, endeavored to make their escape. They
were pursued, and nearly all the party mur
dered! My youngest brother brought me the
news in the night, he having been with the
hunters, and got but slightly wounded. He
said the whites had abandoned their cattle, and
gone back towards the settlement. The re
mainder of the night was spent in lamenting
for the death of our friends. At daylight, I
blacked my face, and started to the fort to see
the war chief. I met him at the gate, and
ife of SWacft
told him what had happened. His counte
nance changed; I could see sorrow depicted in
it for the death of my people. He tried to
persuade me that I was mistaken, as he could
not believe that the whites would act so cruelly.
But when I convinced him, he told me that
those cowards who had murdered my people
should be punished. I told him that my
people would have revenge that they would
not trouble any of his people of the fort, as
we did not blame him or any of his soldiers
but that a party of my braves would go towards
the Wabash to avenge the death of their friends
and  relations. The next day I took a
party of hunters and killed several deer, and
left them at the fort gate as I passed."
Here Gomo ended his story. I could relate
many similar ones that have come within my
own knowledge and observation; but I dislike
to look back and bring on sorrow afresh. I
will resume my narrative.
The great chief at St. Louis having sent
word for us to go down and confirm the treaty
of peace, we did not hesitate, but started im
mediately, that we might smoke the peace-pipe
with him. On our arrival, we met the great
chiefs in council. They explained to us the
words of our Great Father at Washington,
accusing us of heinous crimes and divers misde
meanors, particularly in not coming down when
first invited. We knew very well that our
Great Father had deceived us, and thereby
Itife of 25Iatft l^atoft
forced us to join the British, and could not
believe that he had put this speech into the
mouths of these chiefs to deliver to us. I was
not a civil chief, and consequently made no
reply: but our chiefs told the commissioners
that "what they had said was a lie! that our
Great Father had sent no such speech, he
knowing the situation in which we had been
placed had been caused by him! The white
chiefs appeared very angry at this reply, and
said they "would break off the treaty with us,
and go to war, as they would not be insulted."
Our chiefs had no intention of insulting them,
and told them "that they merely wished to
explain  to them that they had told a lie,
without making them angry; in the same man
ner that the whites do, when they do not
believe what is told them!" The council then
proceeded, and the pipe of peace was smoked.
Here, for the first time, I touched the goose
quill to the treaty not knowing, however, that,
by that act, I consented to give away my village.
Had that been explained to me, I should have
opposed it, and never would have signed their
treaty, as my recent conduct will clearly prove.
What do we know of the manner of the laws
and customs of the white people? They might
buy our bodies for dissection, and we would
touch the goose quill to confirm it, without
knowing what we are doing. This was the
case with myself and people in touching the
goose quill the first time.
Sife of SMacft
We can only judge of what is proper and
right by our standard of right and wrong,
which differs widely from the whites, if I have
been correctly informed. The whites may do
bad all their lives, and then, if they are sorry
for it when about to die, all is well! But with
us it is different: we must continue through
out our lives to do what we conceive to be
good. If we have corn and meat, and know
of a family that hajve none, we divide with
them. If we have more blankets than suffi
cient, and others have not enough, we must
give to them that want. But I will presently
explain our customs and the manner we live.
 We were friendly treated by the white
chiefs, and started back to our village on Rock
river. Here we found that troops had arrived
to build a fort at Rock Island. 26 This, in our
opinion, was a contradiction to what we had
done "to prepare for war in time of peace."
We did not, however, object to their building
the fort on the island, but we were very sorry,
as this was the best island on the Mississippi,
and had long been the resort of our young
people during the summer. It was our garden
(like the white people have near to their big vil
lages) which supplied us with strawberries,
blackberries, gooseberries, plums, apples, and
nuts of different kinds; and its waters supplied
us with fine fish, being situated in the rapids of
26 Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, was built and
garrisoned in the summer of 1816.
ilife of 2Macft
the river. In my early life, I spent many happy
days on this island. A good spirit had care
of it, who lived in a cave in the rocks immedi
ately under the place where the fort now stands,
and has often been seen by our people. He
was white, with large wings like a swan s, but
ten times larger. We were particular not to
make much noise in that part of the island
which he inhabited, for fear of disturbing him.
But the noise of the fort has since driven him
away, and no doubt a bad spirit has taken his
Our village was situated on the north side
of Rock river, at the foot of its rapids, and on
the point of land between Rock river and the
Mississippi. In its front, a prairie extended
to the bank of the Mississippi; and in our rear,
a continued bluff, gently ascending from 
the prairie. On the side of this bluff we had
our corn-fields, extending about two miles up,
running parallel with the Mississippi; where we
joined those of the Foxes, whose village was on
the bank of the Mississippi, opposite the lower
end of Rock island, and three miles distant from
ours. We had about eight hundred acres in cul
tivation, including what we had on the islands
of Rock river. The land around our vil
lage, uncultivated, was covered with blue-grass,
which made excellent pasture for our horses.
Several fine springs broke out of the bluff, near
by, from which we were supplied with good
water. The rapids of Rock river furnished us
3Ufe of 95Iacft i^atoft
with an abundance of excellent fish, and the
land, being good, never failed to produce good
crops of corn, beans, pumpkins, and squashes.
We always had plenty our children never
cried with hunger, nor our people were never
in want. Here our village had stood for more
than a hundred years, during all which time we
were the undisputed possessors of the valley
of the Mississippi, from the Ouisconsin to the
Portage des Sioux, near the mouth of the
Missouri, being about seven hundred miles in
At this time we had very little intercourse
with the whites, except our traders. Our vil
lage was healthy, and there was no place in
the country possessing such advantages, nor
no hunting grounds better than those we had
in possession. If another prophet had come
to our village in those days, and told us what
has since taken place, none of our people would
have  believed him! What! to be driven
from our village and hunting grounds, and not
even permitted to visit the graves of our fore
fathers, our relations and friends?
This hardship is not known to the whites.
With us it is a custom to visit the graves of our
friends, and keep them in repair for many years.
The mother will go alone to weep over the grave
of her child! The brave, with pleasure, visits
the grave of his father, after he has been suc
cessful in war, and repaints the post that shows
where he lies! There is no place like that
3tife of 2>lacft l^atoh
where the bones of our forefathers lie, to go
to when in grief. Here the Great Spirit will
take pity on us!
But, how different is our situation now, from
what it was in those days! Then we were as
happy as the buffalo on the plains but now,
we are as miserable as the hungry, howling wolf
in the prairie! But I am digressing from my
story. Bitter reflection crowds upon my mind,
and must find utterance.
When we returned to our village in the spring,
from our wintering grounds, we would finish
trading with our traders, who always followed
us to our village. We purposely kept some
of our fine furs for this trade; and, as there
was great opposition among them, who should
get these skins, we always got our goods cheap.
After this trade was over, the traders would
give us a few kegs of rum, which was gener
ally promised in the fall, to en-  courage us
to make a good hunt, and not go to war.
They would then start with their furs and pel
tries for their homes. Our old men would
take a frolic, (at this time our young men
never drank.) When this was ended, the next
thing to be done was to bury our dead, (such as
had died during the year.) This is a great
medicine feast. The relations of those who have
died, give all the goods they have purchased,
as presents to their friends thereby reducing
themselves to poverty, to show the Great
Spirit that they are humble, so that he will
Hife of SMacfc
take pity on them. We would next open the
cashes, and take out corn and other provisions,
which had been put up in the fall and then
commence repairing our lodges. As soon as
this is accomplished, we repair the fences
around our fields, and clean them off, ready
for planting corn. This work is done by
our women. The men, during this time, are
feasting on dried venison, bear s meat, wild
fowl, and corn,, prepared in different ways;
and recounting to each other what took place
during the winter.
Our women plant the corn, and as soon as
they get done, we make a feast, and dance the
crane dance, in which they join us, dressed in
their best, and decorated with feathers. At
this feast our young braves select the young
woman they wish to have for a wife. He then
informs his mother, who calls on the mother
of the girl, when the arrangement  is made,
and the time appointed for him to come. He
goes to the lodge when all are asleep, (or pre
tend to be,) lights his matches, which have
been provided for the purpose, and soon finds
where his intended sleeps. He then awakens
her, and holds the light to his face that she
may know him after which he places the
light close to her. If she blows it out, the
ceremony is ended, and he appears in the lodge
next morning, as one of the family. If she
does not blow out the light, but leaves it to
burn out, he retires from the lodge. The next
day he places himself in full view of it, and
plays his flute. The young women go out,
one by one, to see who he is playing for. The
tune changes, to let them know that he is not
playing for them. When his intended makes
her appearance at the door, he continues his
courting tune, until she returns to the lodge.
He then gives over playing, and makes another
trial at night, which generally turns out favor
able. During the first year they ascertain
whether they can agree with each other, and
.can be happy if not, they part, and each
looks out again. If we were to live together
and disagree, we should be as foolish as the
whites! No indiscretion can banish a woman
from her parental lodge no difference how
many children she may bring home, she is al
ways welcome the kettle is over the fire to
The crane dance often lasts two or three
days. When this is over, we feast again, and
have our  national dance. The large square
in the village is swept and prepared for the
purpose. The chiefs and old warriors, take
seats on mats which have been spread at the
upper end of the square the drummers and
singers come next, and the braves and women
form the sides, leaving a large space in the
middle. The drums beat, and the singers
commence. A warrior enters the square, keep
ing time with the music. He shows the
manner he started on a war party how he
approached the enemy he strikes, and de
scribes the way he killed him. All join in
applause. He then leaves the square, and
another enters and takes his place. Such of
our young men as have not been out in war
parties, and killed an enemy, stand back
ashamed not being able to enter the square.
I remember that I was ashamed to look where
our young women stood, before I could take
my stand in the square as a warrior.
What pleasure it is to an old warrior, to
see his son come forward and relate his exploits
it makes him feel young, and induces him
to enter the square, and "fight his battles o er
This national dance makes our warriors.
When I was travelling last summer, on a steam
boat, on a large river, going from New York
to Albany, I was shown the place where the
Americans dance their national dance [West
Point]; where the old warriors recount to their
young men, what they have done, to  stim
ulate them to go and do likewise. This
surprised me, as I did not think the whites
understood our way of making braves.
When our national dance is over our corn
fields hoed, and every weed dug up, and our
corn about knee-high, all our young men would
start in a direction towards sun-down, to hunt
deer and buffalo being prepared, also, to kill
Sioux, if any are found on our hunting grounds
a part of our old men and women to the
atife of SSiacft
lead mines to make lead and the remainder
of our people start to fish, and get mat stuff.
Every one leaves the village, and remains about
forty days. They then return: the hunting
party bringing in dried buffalo and deer meat,
and sometimes Sioux scalps, when they are
found trespassing on our hunting grounds. At
other times they are met by a party of Sioux
too strong for them, and are driven in. If the
Sioux have killed the Sacs last, they expect to
be retaliated upon, and will fly before them,
and vice versa. Each party knows that the
other has a righ.t to retaliate, which induces
those who have killed last, to give way before
their enemy as neither wish to strike, except
to avenge the death of their relatives. All our
wars are predicated by the relatives of those
killed; or by aggressions upon our hunting
The party from the lead mines bring lead,
and the others dried fish, and mats for our win
ter lodges. Presents are now made by each
party; the first, giving to the others dried
buffalo and deer, and they, in  exchange,
presenting them with lead, dried fish and mats.
This is a happy season of the year having
plenty of provisions, such as beans, squashes,
and other produce, with our dried meat and
fish, we continue to make feasts and visit each
other, until our corn is ripe. Some lodge in
the village makes a feast daily, to the Great
Spirit. I cannot explain this so that the white
life of 25lacft f atoft
people would comprehend me, as we have no
regular standard among us. Every one makes
his feast as he thinks best, to please the Great
Spirit, who has the care of all beings created.
Others believe in two Spirits: one good and one
bad, and make feasts for the Bad Spirit, to
keep him quiet! If they can make peace with
him, the Good Spirit will not hurt them! For
my part, I am of opinion, that so far as we
have reason, we have a right to use it, in deter
mining what is right or wrong; and should
pursue that path which we believe to be right
believing that, "whatever is, is right." If
the Great and Good Spirit wished us to believe
and do as the whites, he could easily change
our opinions, so that we would see, and think,
and act as they do. We are nothing compared
to His power, and we feel and know it. We
have men among us, like the whites, who pre
tend to know the right path, but will not con
sent to show it without pay! I have no faith
in their paths but believe that every man
must make his own path!
When our corn is getting ripe, our young
people watch with anxiety for the signal to pull
roasting ears  as none dare touch them
until the proper time. When the corn is fit to
use, another great ceremony takes place, with
feasting, and returning thanks to the Great
Spirit for giving us corn.
I will here relate the manner in which corn
first came. According to tradition, handed
ilife of 25Iacft J^atoft
down to our people, a beautiful woman was
seen to descend from the clouds, and alight
upon the earth, by two of our ancestors, who
had killed a deer, and were sitting by a fire,
roasting a part of it to eat. They were aston
ished at seeing her, and concluded that she
must be hungry, and had smelt the meat and
immediately went to her, taking with them a
piece of the roasted venison. They presented
it to her, and she eat and told them to return
to the spot where she was sitting, at the end
of one year, and they would find a reward for
their kindness and generosity. She then as
cended to the clouds, and disappeared. The
two men returned to their village, and ex
plained to the nation what they had seen, done,
and heard but were laughed at by their
people. When the period arrived, for them
to visit this consecrated ground, where they
were to find a reward for their attention to the
beautiful woman of the clouds, they went with
a large party, and found, where her right hand
had rested on the ground, corn growing and
where the left hand had rested, beans, and
immediately where she had been seated, tobacco.
The two first have, ever since, been culti
vated by  our people, as our principal pro
visions and the last used for smoking. The
white people have since found out the latter,
and seem to relish it as much as we do as-
they use it in different ways, viz. smoking,
snuffing and eating!
Sjfe of 25Iacft
We thank the Great Spirit for all the benefits
he has conferred upon us. For myself, I
never take a drink of water from a spring,
without being mindful of his goodness.
We next have our great ball play from
three to five hundred on a side, play this game.
We play for horses, guns, blankets, or any
other kind of property we have. The success
ful party take the stakes, and all retire to our
lodges in peace and friendship.
We next commence horse-racing, and con
tinue our sport and feasting, until the corn is
all secured. We then prepare to leave our
village for our hunting grounds. The traders
arrive, and give us credit for such articles as
we want to clothe our families, and enable us
to hunt. We first, however, hold a council
with them, to ascertain the price they will give
us for our skins, and what they will charge us
for goods. We inform them where we intend
hunting and tell them where to build their
houses. At this place, we deposit part of
our corn, and leave our old people. The
traders have always been kind to them, and
relieved them when in want. They were al
ways much respected by our people and
never since we have been a nation, has one of
them been killed by any of our people.
 We disperse, in small parties, to make
our hunt, and as soon as it is over, we return
to our traders establishment, with our skins,
and remain feasting, playing cards and other
Sife of SWacfe
pastimes, until near the close of the winter.
Our young men then start on the beaver hunt;
others to hunt raccoons and muskrats and
the remainder of our people go to the sugar
camps to make sugar. All leave our encamp
ment, and appoint a place to meet on the Mis
sissippi, so that we may return to our village
together, in the spring. We always spent our
time pleasantly at the sugar camp. It being
the season for wild fowl, we lived well, and
always had plenty, when the hunters came in,
that we might make a feast for them. After
this is over, we return to our village, accom
panied, sometimes, by our traders. In this
way, the year rolled round happily. But these
are times that were!
On returning, in the spring, from our hunt
ing ground, I had the pleasure of meeting our
old friend, the trader of Peoria, at Rock Island.
He came up in a boat from St. Louis, not as
a trader, as in times past, but as our agent.
We were all pleased to see him. He told us,
that he narrowly escaped falling into the hands
of Dixon. He remained with us a short time,
gave us good advice, and then returned to
The Sioux having committed depredations
on our people, we sent out war parties that
summer, who succeeded in killing fourteen.
I paid several visits to fort Armstrong during
the summer, and was always  well treated.
We were not as happy then in our village as
Hife of 25Iatft
formerly. Our people got more liquor than
customary. I used all my influence to prevent
drunkenness, but without effect. As the settle
ments progressed towards us, we became worse
off, and more unhappy. Many of our people,
instead of going to their old hunting grounds,
where game was plenty, would go near to the
settlements to hunt and, instead of saving
their skins to pay the trader for goods furnished
them in the fall, would sell them to the settlers
for whiskey! and return in the spring with
their families, almost naked, and without the
means of getting any thing for them.
About this time my eldest son was taken
sick and died. He had always been a dutiful
child, and had just grown to manhood. Soon
after, my youngest daughter, an interesting and
affectionate child, died also. This was a hard
stroke, because I loved my children. In my
distress, I left the noise of the village, and built
my lodge on a mound in my corn-field, and
enclosed it with a fence, around which I planted
corn and beans. Here I was with my family
alone. I gave every thing I had away, and
reduced myself to poverty. The only cover
ing I retained, was a piece of buffalo robe. I
resolved on blacking my face and fasting, for
two years, for the loss of my two children
drinking only of water in the middle of the
day, and eating sparingly of boiled corn at sun
set. I fulfilled my promise, hoping that the
Great Spirit would take pity on me.
Hife of 2Macft
 My nation had now some difficulty with
the loways, with whom we wished to be at
peace. Our young men had repeatedly killed
some of the loways; and these breaches had
always been made up by giving presents to the
relations of those killed. But the last council
we had with them, we promised that, in case
any more of their people were killed by ours, in
stead of presents, we would give up the person,
or persons, that had done the injury. We
made this determination known to our people;
but, notwithstanding, one of our young men
killed an loway the following winter.
A party of our people were about starting
for the loway village to give the young man
up. I agreed to accompany them. When we
were ready to start, I called at the lodge for
the young man to go with us. He was sick,
but willing to go. His brother, however, pre-*
vented him, and insisted on going to die in his
place, as he was unable to travel. We started,
and on the seventh day arrived in sight of the
Iowa village, and within a short distance of it,
halted and dismounted. We all bid farewell
to our young brave, who entered the village
alone, singing his death-song, and sat down on
the square in the middle of the village. One
of the Iowa chiefs came out to us. We told
him that we had fulfilled our promise that
we had brought the brother of the young man
who had killed one of their people that he
had volunteered to come in his place, in con-
a tfe of SWacfc
sequence of his brother beih g enable- tc :
from sickness. We had no  further con
versation, but mounted our horses and rode
off. As we started I cast my eye toward the
village, and observed the loways coming out
of their lodges with spears and war clubs.
We took our trail back, and travelled until dark
then encamped and made a fire. We had
not been here long, before we heard the sound
of horses coming towards us. We seized our
arms; but instead of any enemy, it was our
young brave with two horses. He told me
that after we had left him, they menaced him
with death for some time then gave him
something to eat smoked the pipe with him
and made him a present of the two horses and
some goods, and started him after us. When
we arrived at our village, our people were much
pleased; and for the noble and generous con
duct of the loways, on this occasion, not one
of their people has been killed since by any of
That fall I visited Maiden with several of my
band, and twe] were well treated by the agent
of our British Father, who gave us a variety of
presents. He also gave me a medal, and told
me there never would be war between England
and America again; but, for my fidelity to the
British during the war that had terminated
some time before, requested me to come with
my band and get presents every year, as Colonel
Dixon had promised me.
ifcof 25Iacft f atoft
-ec, ana, huijted that winter on the
Two-Rivers. The whites were now settling
the country fast. I was out one day hunting
in a bottom, and met  three white men.
They accused me of killing their hogs. I
denied it; but they would not listen to me.
One of them took my gun out of my hand and
fired it off then took out the flint, gave back
my gun, and commenced beating me with
sticks, and ordered me off. I was so much
bruised that I could not sleep for several
Some time after this occurrence, one of my
camp cut a bee-tree, and carried the honey to
his lodge. A party of white men soon fol
lowed, and told him the bee-tree was theirs,
and that he had no right to cut it. He pointed
to the honey and told them to take it; they
were not satisfied with this, but took all the
packs of skins that he had collected during
the winter, to pay his trader and clothe his
family with in the spring, and carried them
How could we like such people, who treated
us so unjustly? We determined to break up
our camp, for fear that they would do worse
and when we joined our people in the spring,
a great many of them complained of similar
This summer 27 our agent came to live at
Rock Island. He treated us well, and gave
27 The summer of 1819, apparently.
Itife of 25Iacfe
us good advice. I visited him and the trader
very often during the summer, and, for the
first time, heard talk of our having to leave my
village. The trader, explained to me the terms
of the treaty that had been made, and said we
would be obliged to leave the Illinois side of
the Mississippi, and advised us to select a
good place for  our village, and remove to
it in the spring. He pointed out the difficul
ties we would have to encounter if we remained
at our village on Rock river. He had great
influence with the principal Fox chief, his
adopted brother, and persuaded him to leave
his village, go to the west side of the Missis
sippi river and build another which he did
the spring following. Nothing was talked of
but leaving our village. Ke-o-kuck had been
persuaded to consent to go; and was using
all his influence, backed by the war chief at
fort Armstrong and our agent and trader at
Rock Island, to induce others to go with him.
He sent the crier through the village to inform
our people that it was the wish of our Great
Father that we should remove to the west side
of the Mississippi and recommended the
loway river as a good place for the new vil
lage and wished his party to make such
arrangements, before they started on their
winter s hunt, as to preclude the necessity of
their returning to the village in the spring.
The party opposed to removing called upon
me for my opinion. I gave it freely and
Hife of 2Macft f atoft
after questioning Quash-qua-me about the sale
of our lands, he assured me that he "never
had consented to the sale of our village." I
now promised this party to be their leader, and
raised the standard of opposition to Ke-o-kuck,
with a full determination not to leave my village.
I had an interview with Ke-o-kuck, to see if
this difficulty could not be settled with our
Great  Father and told him to propose
to give other land, (any that our Great Father
might choose, even our lead mines,} to be
peaceably permitted to keep the small point of
land on which our village and lands were situ
ate. I was of opinion that the white people
had plenty of land, and would never take our
village from us. Ke-o-kuck promised to make
an exchange if possible; and applied to our
agent, and the great chief at St. Louis, (who
has charge of all the agents,) for permission
to go to Washington to see our Great Father
for that purpose. This satisfied us for some
time. We started to our hunting grounds, in
good hopes that something would be done for
us. During the winter I received information
that three families of whites had arrived at
our village and destroyed some of our lodges,
and were making fences and dividing our corn
fields for their own use and were quarreling
among themselves about their lines in the divi
sion! I immediately started for Rock river
a distance of ten days travel, and on my
arrival found the report to be true. I went
Stfc of 3Marft
to my lodge, and saw a family occupying it.
I wished to talk with them but they could not
understand me. I then went to Rock Island,
and (the agent being absent,) told the inter
preter what I wanted to say to these people,
viz: "Not to settle on our lands nor trouble
our lodges or fences that there was plenty
of land in the country for them to settle
upon and they must leave our village, as we
were coming back to it in the  spring."
The interpreter wrote me a paper, and I went
back to the village, and showed it to the in
truders, but could not understand their reply.
I expected, however, that they would remove,
as I requested them. I returned to Rock
Island, passed the night there, and had a long
conversation with the trader. He again ad
vised me to give up, and make my village
with Ke-o-kuck, on the loway river. I told
him that I would not. The next morning I
crossed the Mississippi, on very bad ice but
the Great Spirit made it strong, that I might
pass over safe. I travelled three days farther
to see the Winnebago sub-agent, and converse
with him on the subject of our difficulties.
He gave no better news than the trader had
done. I started then, by way of Rock river,
to see the prophet, 28 believing that he was a
28 The "prophet," White Cloud, a man of mixed
Winnebago and Sac descent, had a village on Rock
River some thirty-five miles above its mouth. In
Sac history and in Black Hawk s life he played a
Ilife of 25Iatft
man of great knowledge. When we met, I
explained to him everything as it was. He at
once agreed that I was right, and advised me
never to give up our village, for the whites to
plough up the bones of our people. He said,
that if we remained at our village, the whites
would not trouble us and advised me to get
Ke-o-kuck, and the party that had consented
to go with him to the loway in the spring, to
return, and remain at our village.
I returned to my hunting ground, after an
absence of one moon, and related what I had
done. In a short time we came up to our
village, and found that the whites had not left
it but that others had come, and that the
greater part of our corn-fields had been 
enclosed. When we landed, the whites ap
peared displeased because we came back.
We repaired the lodges that had been left
standing, and built others. Ke-o-kuck came
to the village; but his object was to persuade
others to follow him to the loway. He had
accomplished nothing towards making arrange
ments for us to remain, or to exchange other
lands for our village. There was no more
role similar to that of the more famous "prophet,"
the brother of Tecumseh, in the affairs of his people.
Thwaites characterizes White Cloud as Black Hawk s
"evil genius." "His hatred of the whites was in
veterate; he appears to have been devoid of humane
sentiments ; he had a reckless disposition, and
seemed to enjoy sowing the seeds of disorder for
the simple pleasure of witnessing a border chaos."
Hifc of 2Hacft
friendship existing between us. I looked upon
him as a coward, and no brave, to abandon
his village to be occupied by strangers. What
right had these people to our village, and our
fields, which the Great Spirit had given us to
live upon ?
My reason teaches me that land cannot be
sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children
to live upon, and cultivate as far as is necessary
for their subsistence; and so long as they occupy
and cultivate it, they have the right to the soil
but if they voluntarily leave it, then any other
people have a right to settle upon it. Nothing
can be sold but such things as can be carried
In consequence of the improvements of the
intruders on our fields, we found considerable
difficulty to get ground to plant a little corn.
Some of the whites permitted us to plant small
patches in the fields they had fenced, keeping
all the best ground for themselves. Our
women had great difficulty in climbing their
fences, (being unaccustomed to the kind,) and
were ill-treated if they left a rail down.
One of my old friends thought he was safe.
His  corn-field was on a small island of
Rock river. He planted his corn; it came up
well but the white man saw it! he wanted
the island, and took his teams over, ploughed up
the corn, and re-planted it for himself ! The old
man shed tears; not for himself but the distress
his family would be in if they raised no corn.
3tife of 25Iatft
The white people brought whisky into our
village, made our people drunk, and cheated
them out of their horses, guns, and traps!
This fraudulent system was carried to such an
extent that I apprehended serious difficulties
might take place, unless a stop was put to it.
Consequently, I visited all the whites and
begged them not to sell whisky to my people.
One of them continued the practice openly.
I took a party of my young men, went to his
house, and took out his barrel and broke in
the head and poured out the whisky. I did
this for fear some of the whites might be killed
by my people when drunk.
Our people were treated badly by the whites
on many occasions. At one time, a white man
beat one of our women cruelly, for pulling a
few suckers of corn out of his field, to suck,
when hungry. At another time, one of our
young men was beat with clubs by two white
men for opening a fence which crossed our
road, to take his horse through. His shoulder
blade was broken, and his body badly bruised,
from which he soon after died!
Bad, and cruel, as our people were treated
by the  whites, not one of them was hurt
or molested by any of my band. I hope this
will prove that we are a peaceable people
having permitted ten men to take possession
of our corn-fields; prevent us from planting
corn; burn our lodges; ill-treat our women;
and beat to death our men, without offering
Sife of 2Macfe
resistance to their barbarous cruelties. This
is a lesson worthy for the white man to learn :
to use forbearance when injured.
We acquainted our agent daily with our
situation, and through him, the great chief 29
at St. Louis and hoped that something would
be done for us. The whites were complaining
at the same time that we were intriiding upon
their rights! THEY made themselves out
the injured party, and we the intruders ! And
called loudly to the great war chief to protect
How smooth must be the language of the
whites, when they can make right look like
wrong, and wrong like right.
During this summer, I happened at Rock
Island when a great chief arrived, whom I had
known as the great chief of Illinois, [Governor
Cole] in company with another chief, who, I
have been told, is a great writer [ Judge Jas. Hall.]
I called upon them and begged to explain to
them the grievances, under which me and my
people were laboring, hoping that they could do
something for us. The great chief, however,
did not seem disposed to council with me.
He said  he was no longer the chief of
Illinois that his children had selected another
father in his stead, and that he now only
29 This was General Wm. Clark of Lewis and
Clark fame, who had general administrative control
of the tribes tributary to St. Louis and west of the
Hife of SMacft l^atoft
ranked as they did. I was surprised at this
talk, as I had always heard that he was a good,
brave, and great chief. But the white people
never appear to be satisfied. When they get
a good father, they hold councils, (at the
suggestion of some bad, ambitious man, who
wants the place himself,) and conclude, among
themselves that this man, or some other
equally ambitious, would make a better father
than they have, and nine times out of ten they
don t get as good a one again.
I insisted on explaining to these two chiefs
the true situation of my people. They gave
their assent. I arose and made a speech, in
which I explained to them the treaty made
by Quash-qua-me, and three of our braves,
according to the manner the trader and others
had explained it to me. I then told them that
Quash-qua-me and his party denied, positively,
having ever sold my village; and that, as I had
never known them to lie, I was determined to
keep it in possession.
I told them that the white people had already
entered our village, burnt our lodges, destroyed
our fences, ploughed up our corn, and beat our
people: that they had brought whisky into our
country, made our people drunk, and taken
from them their horses, guns, and traps , and
that I had borne all this injury, without suffer
ing any of my braves to raise a hand against
 My object in holding this council, was
3life of S&Iacfc
to get the opinion of these two chiefs, as to
the best course for me to pursue. I had
appealed in vain, time after time, to our agent,
who regularly represented our situation to the
chief at St. Louis, whose duty it was to call
upon our Great Father to have justice done to
us; but instead of this, we are told that the
white people want our country and we must
leave it to them!
I did not think it possible that our Great
Father wished us to leave our village, where
we had lived so long, and where the bones of
so many of our people had been laid. The
great chief said that, as he was no longer a
chief, he could do nothing for us; and felt
sorry that it was not in his power to aid us
nor did he know how to advise us. Neither
of them could do anything for us; but both
evidently appeared very sorry. It would give
me great pleasure, at all times, to take these
two chiefs by the hand.
That fall I paid a visit to the agent, before
we started to our hunting grounds, to hear if
he had any good news for me. He had news!
He said that the land on which our village stood
was now ordered to be sold to individuals;
and that, when sold, our right to remain, by
treaty, would be at an end, and that if we
returned next spring, we would be forced to
We learned during the winter that part of
the lands where our village stood had been sold
atife of SMacft J^atoft
to individuals, and that the trader at Rock
Island had bought the  greater part that
had been sold. The reason was now plain to
me why he urged us to remove. His object,
we thought, was to get our lands. We held
several councils that winter to determine what
we should do, and resolved, in one of them, to
return to our village in the spring, as usual;
and concluded, that if we were removed by force,
that the trader, agent, and others, must be the
cause; and that, if found guilty of having us
driven from our village they should be killed!
The trader stood foremost on this list. He
had purchased the land on which my lodge
stood, and that of our grave yard also ! Ne-
a-pope promised to kill him, the agent, the
interpreter, the great chief at St. Louis, the
war chief at fort Armstrong, Rock Island, and
Ke-o-kuck these being the principal persons
to blame for endeavoring to remove us.
Our women received bad accounts from the
women that had been raising corn at the new
village the difficulty of breaking the new
prairie with hoes and the small quantity of
corn raised. We were nearly in the same sit
uation with regard to the latter, it being the
first time I ever knew our people to be in want
I prevailed upon some of Ke-o-kuck s band
to return this spring to the Rock river village.
Ke-o-kuck would not return with us. I hoped
that we would get permission to go to Wash-
ftife of 2Macfe
ington to settle our affairs with our Great
Father. I visited the agent at Rock Island.
He was displeased because we had returned
 to our village, and told me that we must
remove to the west of the Mississippi. I told
him plainly that we would not! I visited the
interpreter at his house, who advised me to do
as the agent had directed me. I then went to
see the trader and upbraided him for buying
our lands. He said that if he had not pur
chased them, some person else would, and that
if our Great Father would make an exchange
with us, he would willingly give up the land
he had purchased to the government. This I
thought was fair, and began to think that he
had not acted as badly as I had suspected.
We again repaired our lodges, and built others,
as most of our village had been burnt and
destroyed. Our women selected small patches
to plant corn, (where the whites had not taken
them within their fences,) and worked hard to
raise something for our children to subsist
I was told that, according to the treaty, we
had no right to remain upon the lands sold^
and that the government would force us to
leave them. There was but a small portion,
however, that had been sold; the balance re
maining in the hands of the government, we
claimed the right (if we had no other) to "live
and hunt upon, as long as it remained the
property of the government," by a stipulation
itife of SSlacft
in the same treaty that required us to evacuate
it after it had been sold. This was the land
that we wished to inhabit, and thought we had
the best right to occupy.
I heard that there was a great chief on the
Wabash,  and sent a party to get his ad
vice. They informed him that we had not
sold our village. He assured them, then, that
if we had not sold the land on which our vil
lage stood, our Great Father would not take
it from us.
I started early to Maiden to see the chief of
my British Father, and told him my story.
He gave the same reply that the chief on the
Wabash had given; and in justice to him, I
must say, he never gave me any bad advice:
but advised me to apply to our American
Father, who, he said, would do us justice. I
next called on the great chief at Detroit, and
made the same statement to him that I had
to the chief of our British Father. He gave
the same reply. He said, if we had not sold
our lands, and would remain peaceably on them,
that we would not be disturbed. This assured
me that I was right, and determined me to
hold out, as I had promised my people.
I returned from Maiden late in the fall.
My people were gone to their hunting ground,
whither I followed. Here I learned that they
had been badly treated all summer by the
whites; and that a treaty had been held at
Prairie du Chien. Ke-o-kuck and some of
Hife of 2Wacfc
our people attended it, and found out that
our Great Father had exchanged a small strip
of the land that was ceded by Quash-qua-me and
his party, with the Pottowattomies, fpr a por
tion of their land, near Chicago ; and that the
object of this treaty was to get it back again;
and that the United States had agreed to 
give them sixteen thousand dollars a year, for
ever, for this small strip of land it being
less than the twentieth part of that taken from
our nation, for one thousand dollars a year!
This bears evidence of something I cannot
explain. This land they say belonged to the
United States. What reason, then, could have
induced them to exchange it with the Potto
wattomies, if it was so valuable ? Why not
keep it ? Or, if they found that they had made
a bad bargain with the Pottowattomies, why
not take back their land at a fair proportion of
what they gave our nation for it? If this
small portion of the land that they took from
us for one thousand dollars a year, be worth
sixteen thousand dollars a year forever, to
the Pottowattomies, then the whole tract of
country taken from us ought to be worth, to
our nation, twenty times as much as this small
Here I was again puzzled to find out how
the white people reasoned; and began to doubt
whether they had any standard of right and
Communication was kept up between myself
Etfe of 2Macfc J^atoft
and the Prophet. Runners were sent to the
Arkansas, Red river and Texas not on the
subject of our lands, but a secret mission,
which I am not, at present, permitted to
It was related to me, that the chiefs and
headmen of the Foxes had been invited to
Prairie du Chien, to hold a council to settle
the differences existing between them and the
Sioux. That the chiefs and  headmen,
amounting to nine, started for the place desig
nated, taking with them one woman and
were met by the Menomonees and Sioux, near
the Ouisconsin and all killed, except one man.
Having understood that the whole matter was
published shortly after it occurred, and is
known to the white people, I will say no more
I would here remark, that our pastimes and
sports had been laid aside for two years. We
were a divided people, forming two parties.
Ke-o-kuck being at the head of one, willing
to barter our rights merely for the good
opinion of the whites; and cowardly enough
to desert our village to them. I was at the
head of the other party, and was determined
to hold on to my village, although I had been
ordered to leave it. But, I considered, as
myself and band had no agency in selling our
country and that as provision had been made
in the treaty, for us all to remain on it as long
as it belonged to the United States, that we
Itife of 2Mach
could not be forced away. I refused, there
fore, to quit my village. It was here, that I
was born and here lie the bones of many
friends and relations. For this spot I felt a
sacred reverence, and never could consent to
leave it, without being forced therefrom.
When I called to mind the scenes of my
youth, and those of later days and reflected
that the theatre on which these were acted,
had been so long the home of my fathers,
who now slept on the hills around  it, I
could not bring my mind to consent to leave
this country to the whites, for any earthly con
The winter passed off in gloom. We made
a bad hunt, for want of guns, traps, etc. that
the whites had taken from our people for
whisky! The prospect before us was a bad
one. I fasted, and called upon the Great
Spirit to direct my steps to the right path.
I was in great sorrow because all the whites
with whom I was acquainted, and had been
on terms of friendship, advised me so contrary
to my wishes, that I began to doubt whether I
had a friend among them.
Ke-o-kuck, who has a smooth tongue, and
is a great speaker, was busy in persuading my
band that I was wrong and thereby making
many of them dissatisfied with me. I had one
consolation for all the women were on my
side, on account of their corn-fields.
On my arrival again at my village, with my
Eife of SMacft
band increased, I found it worse than before.
I visited Rock Island. The agent again ordered
me to quit my village. He said, that if we
did not, troops would be sent to drive us off.
He reasoned with me, and told me, it would
be better for us to be with the rest of our
people, so that we might avoid difficulty, and
live in peace. The interpreter joined him, and
gave me so many good reasons, that I almost
wished I had not undertaken the difficult task
that I had  pledged myself to my brave
band to perform. In this mood, I called upon
the trader, who is fond of talking, and had
long been my friend, but jiow amongst those
advising me to give up my village. He received
me very* friendly, and went on to defend Ke-
o-kuck in what he had done, and endeavored
to show me that I was bringing distress on
our women and children. He inquired, if
some terms could not be made, that would
be honorable to me, and satisfactory to my
braves, for us to remove to the west side of
the Mississippi ? I replied, that if our Great
Father would do us justice, and would make
the proposition, I could then give up honorably.
He asked me, "if the great chief at St. Louis
would give us six thousand dollars to purchase
provisions and other articles, if I would give
up peaceably, and remove to the west side of
the Mississippi?" After thinking some time,
I agreed that I could honorably give up, by
being paid for it, according to our customs;
Eife of 2>Iacfe
but told him, that I could not make the pro
posal myself, even if I wished, because it
would be dishonorable in me to do so. He
said he would do it, by sending word to the
great chief at St. Louis, that he could remove
us peaceably, for the amount stated, to the
west side of the Mississippi. A steam-boat
arrived at the island during my stay. After
its departure, the trader told me that he had
requested a war chief, who was stationed at
Galena, and was on board the steam-boat, to
make the offer to the great chief at St. Louis,
and that he would soon be back, and bring his
answer." I did not let my [ IOO] people know
what had taken place, for fear they would be
displeased. I did not like what had been done
myself, and tried to banish it from my mind.
After a few days had passed, the war chief
returned, and brought for answer, that "the
great chief at St. Louis would give us nothing!
and said if we did" not remove immediately
we should be drove off!"
I was not much displeased with the answer
brought by the war chief, because I would
rather have laid my bones with my forefathers
than remove for any consideration. Yet if
a friendly offer had been made, as I expected,
I would, for the sake of my women and chil
dren, have removed peaceably.
I now resolved to remain in my village, and
make no resistance, if the military came, but
submit to my fate! I impressed the import-
ilife of 2Macfc
ance of this course on all my band, and directed
them, in case the military came, not to raise
an arm against them.
About this time, our agent 30 was put out of
office for what reason, I could never ascer
tain. I then thought, if it was for wanting to
make us leave our village it was right because
I was tired of hearing him talk about it. The
interpreter, who had been equally as bad in
trying to persuade us to leave our village, was
retained in office and the young man who
took the place of our agent, told the same old
story over about removing us. I was then
satisfied, that this could not have been the
[ 101 ] Our women had planted a few patches
of corn, which was growing finely, and prom
ised a subsistence for our children but the
white people again commenced ploughing it up!
I now determined to put a stop to it, by clear
ing our country of the intruders. I went to
the principal men and told them that they
must and should leave our country and gave
them until the middle of the next day, to re
move in. The worst left within the time
appointed but the one who remained, repre
sented, that his family, ( which was large, )
would be in a starving condition, if he went and
left his crop and promised to behave well,
if I would consent to let him remain until fall,
30 Thomas Forsyth. He retired to his home at
St. Louis, where he died in 1833.
Kife of 25lacft
in order to secure his crop. He spoke reason
ably, and I consented.
We now resumed some of our games and
pastimes having been assured by the prophet
that we would not be removed. But in a little
while it was ascertained, that a great war chief,
[Gen. Gaines,] with a large number of soldiers
was on his way to Rock river. I again called
upon the prophet, who requested a little time
to see into the matter. Early next morning
he came to me, and said he had been dreaming !
"That he saw nothing bad in this great war
chief, [Gen. Gaines,] who was now near Rock
river. That the object of his mission was to
frighten us from our village, that the white
people might get our land for nothing ! He
assured us that this "great war chief dare not,
and would, not hurt any of us. That the
 Americans were at peace with the Brit
ish, and when they made peace, the British
required, (which the Americans agreed to,)
that they should never interrupt any nation of
Indians that was at peace and that all we
had to do to retain our village, was to refuse
any, and every offer that might be made by
this war chief."
The war chief arrived, and convened a
council at the agency. Ke-o-kuck and Wa-
pel-lo were sent for, and came with a number
of their band. The council house was opened,
and they were all admitted. Myself and band
were then sent for to attend the council.
Hife of 25iacfe
When we arrived at the door, singing a war
song, and armed with lances, spears, war clubs
and bows and arrows, as if going to battle, I
halted, and refused to enter as I could see
no necessity or propriety in having the room
crowded with those who were already there.
If the council was convened for us, why have
others in our room? The war chief having
sent all out, except Ke-o-kuck, Wa-pel-lo, and
a few of their chiefs and braves, we entered
the council house in this war-like appearance,
being desirous to show the war chief that we
were not afraid! He then rose and made a
speech. He said:
"The president is very sorry to be put to
the trouble and expense of sending a large
body of soldiers here, to remove you from the
lands you have long since ceded to the United
States. Your Great [ 103 ] Father has already
warned you repeatedly, through your agent,
to leave the country ; and he is very sorry to
find that you have disobeyed his orders. Your
Great Father wishes you well ; and asks
nothing from you but what is reasonable
and right. I hope you will consult your
own interests, and leave the country you are
occupying, and go to the other side of the
I replied: "That we had never sold our
country. We never received any annuities
from our American father! and we are de
termined to hold on to our village!"
Sife of 25lacft J^atoft
The war chief, apparently angry, rose and
"Who is Black Hawk? Who is Black
I responded: " I am a Sac! My forefather
was a SAC! and all the nations call me a
The war chief said:
"I came here, neither to beg nor hire you
to leave your village. My business is to re
move you, peaceably if I can, but forcibly if I
must ! I will now give you two days to remove
in and if you do not cross the Mississippi
within that time, I will adopt measures to
force you away !
I told him that I never could consent to leave
my village and was determined not to leave it!
The council broke up, and the war chief
retired to the fort. I consulted the prophet
again! He said he had been dreaming, and
that the Great Spirit had di-[iO4]rected that
a woman, the daughter of Mat-ta-tas, the old
chief of the village, should take a stick in her
hand and go before the war chief, and tell him
that she is the daughter of Mat-ta-tas, and that
he had alw-ays been the white man s friend!
That he had fought their battles been
wounded in their service and had always
spoke well of them and she had never heard
him say that he had sold their village. The
whites are numerous, and can take it from us
if they choose, but she hoped they would not
3tife of SWacft
be so unfriendly. If they were, she had one
favor to ask; she wished her people to be
allowed to remain long enough to gather the
provisions now growing in their fields; that
she was a woman, and had worked hard to
raise something to support her children ! And,
if we are driven from our village without being
allowed to save our corn, many of our little
children must perish with hunger!"
Accordingly, Mat-ta-tas daughter was sent
to the fort, accompanied by several of our
young men. They were admitted. She went
before the war chief, and told the story of the
prophet! The war chief said that the presi
dent did not send him here to make treaties
with the women, nor to hold council with them!
That our young men must leave the fort, but
she might remain if she wished!
All our plans were now defeated. We must
cross the river, or return to our village and
await the coming of the war chief with his
soldiers. We determined on the latter: but
finding that our agent, interpreter, [ 105 ] trader,
and Ke-o-kuck, (who were determined on
breaking my ranks,) had seduced several of
my warriors to cross the Mississippi, I sent a
deputation to the agent, at the request of my
band, pledging myself to leave the country in
the fall, provided permission was given us to
remain, and secure our crop of corn, then
growing as we would be in a starving situa
tion if we were driven off without the means
:U iff of 23Uuh
The deputation returned with an answer
from the war chief, "that no further time
would be given than that specified, and if we
were not then gone, he would remove us!"
I directed my village crier to proclaim, that
my orders were, in the event of the war chief
coming to our village to remove us, that not a
gun should be fired nor any resistance offered.
That if he determined to fight, for them to
remain, quietly in their lodges, and let him
kill them if he chose !
I felt conscious that this great war chief
would not hurt our people and my object was
not war! Had it been, we would have at
tacked, and killed the war chief and his braves,
when in council with us as they were then
completely in our power. But his manly con
duct and soldierly deportment, his mild, yet
energetic manner, which proved his bravery,
Some of our young men who had been out
as spies t came in and reported, that they had
discovered a large body of mounted men com
ing towards our village, who [ 106] looked like
a war party .^ They arrived, and took a
position below Rock river, for their place of
31 The "party" consisted of 1600 Illinois militia
under the leadership of Governor Reynolds, called
out to drive the Sacs across the Mississippi. Black
Hawk s narrative of what followed is much too tame
to do justice to the facts. For a fuller account, in
cluding a number of original documents, see Stevens,
op. cit., chaps. XII and XIII.
ttife of S&lacfc
encampment. The great war chief, (Gen.
Gaines,) entered Rock river in a steam-boat,
with his soldiers and one big gun! They
passed, and returned close by our village; but
excited no alarm among my braves. No atten
tion was paid to the boat by any of our people
even our little children, who were playing
on the bank of the river, as usual, continued
their amusement. The water being shallow,
the boat got aground, which gave the whites
some trouble. If they had asked for assist
ance, there was not a brave in my band, who
would not willingly have aided them. Their
people were permitted to pass and repass
through our village, and were treated with
friendship by our people.
The war chief appointed the next day to
remove us! I would have remained and been
taken prisoner by the regulars, but was afraid
of the multitude of pale faces, who were on
horse back, as they were under no restraint of
We crossed the Mississippi during the night,
and encamped some distance below Rock
Island. The great war chief convened another
council, for the purpose of making a treaty
with us. In this treaty he agreed to give us
corn in place of that we had left growing in
our fields. I touched the goose quill to this
treaty, and was determined to live in peace.
The corn that had been given us, was soon
found to  be inadequate to our wants;
Jlife of 25lacft
when loud lamentations were heard in the
camp, by our women and children, for their
roasting-ears, beans and squashes. To satisfy
them, a small party of braves went over, in
the night, to steal corn from their own fields.
They were discovered by the whites, and fired
upon. Complaints were again made of the
depredations committed by some of my people,
on their own corn fields !
I understood from our agent, that there had
been a provision made in one of our treaties
for assistance in agriculture, and that we could
have our fields ploughed if we required it. I
therefore called upon him, and requested him
to have me a small log house built, and a field
plowed that fall, as I wished to live retired.
He promised to have it done. I then went to
the trader, and asked for permission to be
buried in the grave-yard at our village, among
my old friends and warriors; which he gave
me cheerfully. I then returned to my people
A short time after this, a party of Foxes
went up to Prairie du Chien to avenge the
murder of their chiefs and relations, which
had been committed the summer previous, by
the Menomonees and Sioux. When they ar
rived in the vicinity of the encampment of the
Menomonees, they met with a Winnebago, and
inquired for the Menomonee camp; and they
requested him to go on before them and see if
there were any Winnebagoes in it and if so,
3tife of 25lacft
to tell them that they had better return to their
own camp. He went, and gave the in- 
formation, not only to the Winnebagoes, but to
the Menomonees, that they might be prepared.
The party soon followed, killed twenty-eight
Menomonees, and made their escape.
This retaliation, (which with us is considered
lawful and right,) created considerable excite
ment among the whites ! A demand was made
for the Foxes to be surrendered to, and tried
by, the white people! The principal men came
to me during the fall, and asked my advice.
I conceived that they had done right, and that
our Great Father acted very unjustly, in de
manding them, when he had suffered all their
chiefs to be decoyed away, and murdered by
the Menomonees, without having ever made a
similar demand of them. If he had no right
in the first instance, he had none now; and
for my part, I conceived the right very ques
tionable, if not altogether usurpation, in any
case, where a difference exists between two
nations, for him to interfere! The Foxes
joined my band, with an intention to go out
with them to hunt.
About this time, Ne-a-pope, (who started
to Maiden when it was ascertained that the
great war chief, Gen. Gaines, was coming to
remove us,) returned. He said he had seen
the chief of our British Father, and asked him
if the Americans could force us to leave our
village? He said "If we had not sold our
Eife of SMacft
village and land the American government
could not take them from us. That the right,
being vested in us, could only be transferred
by the voice and will of  the whole
nation; and that, as we had never given our
consent to the sale of our country, it remained
our exclusive property from which the Amer
ican government could never force us away!
and that, in the event of war, we should have
nothing to fear / as they would stand by and
assist us ! "
He said he had called at the prophet s vil
lage on his way down, and had there learned,
for the first time, that we had left our village.
He informed me, privately, that the prophet
was anxious to see me, as he had much good
news to tell me, and that I would hear good
news in the spring from our British Father.
The prophet requested me to inform you of
all the particulars. I would much rather, how
ever, you should see him, and learn all from
himself. But I will tell you, that he has re
ceived expresses from our British father, who
says that he is going to send us guns, ammu
nition, provisions, and clothing, early in the
spring. The vessels that bring them will come
by way of Mil-wa-ke. The prophet has like
wise received wampum and tobacco from the
different nations on the lakes Ottawas,
Chippewas, Pottowattomies; and as for the
Winnebagoes, he has them all at his command.
We are going to be happy once more!
ilife of 25lacft
I told him that I was pleased that our British
Father intended to see us righted. That we
had been driven from our lands without re
ceiving anything for them and I now began
to hope, from his talk, that my people would
be once more happy. If [ 1 10 ] I could accom
plish this, I would be satisfied. I am now
growing old, and could spend the remnant of
my time anywhere. But I wish first to see
my people happy. I can then leave them
cheerfully. This has always been my constant
aim; and I now begin to hope that our sky
will soon be clear.
Ne-a-pope said: " The prophet told me that
all the different tribes before mentioned would
fight for us, if necessary, and the British
would support us. And, if we should be
whipped, (which is hardly possible,) we will
still be safe, the prophet having received a
friendly talk from the chief of Was-sa-cum-
mi-co, (at Selkirk s settlement,) telling him,
that if we were not satisfied in our country, to
let him know, and he would make us happy.
That he had received information from our
British father, that we had been badly treated
by the Americans. We must go and see the
prophet. I will go first; you had better re
main and get as many of our people to join us
as you can. You now know every thing that
we have done. We leave the matter with you
to arrange among your people as you please. I
will return to the prophet s village to-morrow.
You can, in the mean time, make up your mind
as to the course you will take, and send word
to the prophet by me, as he is anxious to assist
us, and wishes to know whether you will join
us, and assist to make your people happy!"
During that night, I thought over every
thing that Ne-a-pope had told me, and was
pleased to think that, [ 1 1 1 ] by a little exertion
on my part, I could accomplish the object of
all my wishes. I determined to follow the
advice of the prophet, and sent word by Ne-
a-pope, that I would get all my braves together,
explain every thing that I had heard to them ;
and recruit as many as I could from the differ
Accordingly, I sent word to Ke-o-kuck s
band and the Fox tribe, and explained to them
all the good news I had heard. They would
not hear. Ke-o-kuck said that I had been
imposed upon by liars, and had much better
remain where I was and keep quiet. When
he found that I was determined to make an
attempt to secure my village, and fearing that
some difficulty would arise, he made applica
tion to the agent and great chief at St. Louis,
for permission for the chiefs of our nation to
go to Washington to see our Great Father, that
we might have our difficulties settled amicably.
Ke-o-kuck also requested the trader, who was
going on to Washington, to call on our Great
Father and explain everything to him, and ask
for permission for us to come on and see him.
Hife of 25Iatfe J^atofc
Having heard nothing favorable from the
great chief at St. Louis, I concluded that I
had better keep my band together, and recruit
as many more as possible, so that I would be
prepared to make the attempt to rescue my vil
lage in the spring, provided our Great Father did
not send word for us to go to Washington, [i 12]
The trader returned. He said he had called
on our Great Father and made a full statement
to him in relation to our difficulties, and had
asked leave for us to go to Washington, but
had received no answer.
I had determined to listen to the advice of
my friends and if permitted to go to see our
Great Father, to abide by his counsel, what
ever it might be. Every overture was made by
Ke-o-kuck to prevent difficulty, and I anxiously
hoped that something would be done for my
people, that it might be avoided. But there was
bad management somewhere, or the difficulty
that has taken place would have been avoided.
When it was ascertained that we would not
be permitted to go to Washington, I resolved
upon my course, and again tried to recruit
some braves from Ke-o-kuck s band to accom
pany me, but could not.
Conceiving that the peaceable disposition of
Ke-o-kuck and his people had been, in a great
measure, the cause of our having been driven
from our village, I ascribed their present feel
ings to the same cause ; and immediately went
to work to recruit all my own band, and made
aiife of 25Iacft
preparations to ascend Rock river. I made
my encampment on the Mississippi, where fort
Madison had stood; requested my people to
rendezvous at that place, and sent out soldiers
to bring in the warriors, and stationed my
sentinels in a position to prevent any from
moving up until all were ready.
My party having all come in and got ready,
we commenced our march up the Mississippi
our women  and children in canoes, carry
ing such provisions as we had, camp equipage,
&c., and my braves and warriors on horse
back, armed and equipped for defence. The
prophet came down and joined us below
Rock river, having called at Rock Island on
his way down, to consult the war chief, agent,
and trader, who, (he said) used many argu
ments to dissuade him from going with us;
and requested him to come and meet us, and
turn us back. They told him also, there was
a war chief on his way to Rock Island with a
la*ge body of soldiers. 32
32 This was General Atkinson, who had set out
from Jefferson Barracks with the intention of com
pelling the surrender of the Foxes who had murdered
the Menominee at Prairie du Chien the preceding
year. Thus it came about that Atkinson with a
small force of regulars was on the spot, so to speak,
when Black Hawk s invasion precipitated the war.
Recognizing the insufficiency of his force to cope
with the situation, he called on Governor Reynolds
for assistance, and the latter, in turn, promptly
issued a fiery summons to the Illinois militia to
assemble " for the defense of their country."
Itife of 2Macft
The prophet said he would not listen to this
talk, because no war chief dare molest us as
long as we are at peace. That we had a right
to go where we pleased peaceably; and advised
me to say nothing to my braves and warriors
until we encamped that night. We moved on
ward until we arrived at the place where Gen.
Gaines had made his encampment the year
before, and encamped for the night. The
prophet then addressed my braves and war
riors. He told them to "follow us, and act
like braves, and we had nothing to fear, but
much to gain. That the American war chief
might come, but he would not, nor dare not,
interfere with us so long as we acted peaceably!
That we were not yet ready to act otherwise.
We must wait until we ascend Rock river
and receive our reinforcements, and we will
then be able to withstand any army!"
That night the White Beaver, [Gen. Atkin
son,]  with a party of soldiers, passed up
in steam-boats. Our party became alarme^l,
expecting to meet soldiers at Rock river, to
prevent us from going up. On our arrival at
its mouth, we discovered that the steam-boats
had passed on. I was fearful that the war
chief had stationed his men on some bluff, or
in some ravine, that we might be taken by
surprise. Consequently, on entering Rock
river, we commenced beating our drums and
singing to show the Americans that we were
Having met with no opposition, we moved
up Rock river leisurely some distance, when
we were overtaken by an express from the
White Beaver, with an ORDER for me to re
turn with my band, and recross the Mississippi
again. I sent him word that "I would not,
( not recognizing his right to make such a de
mand,) as I was acting peaceably, and intended
to go to the prophet s village, at his request,
to make corn."
The express returned. We moved on, and
encamped some distance below the prophet s
village. Here another express came from the
White Beaver, threatening to pursue us and
drive us back, if we did not return peaceably!
This message roused the spirit of my band,
and all were determined to remain with me
and contest the ground with the war chief,
should he come and attempt to drive us. We
therefore directed the express to say to the war
chief, " if he wished to fight us, he might come
on ! " We were determined never to be driven,
and equally so, not to  make the first
attack, our object being to act only on the de
fensive. This we conceived our right.
Soon after the express returned, Mr. Gratiot,
sub-agent for the Winnebagoes, with several
of the chiefs and headmen of the Winnebago
nation, came to our encampment. He had
no interpreter and was compelled to talk
through his chiefs. They said the object of
his mission was, to persuade us to return.
Hife of 2Macft
But they advised us to go on assuring us that
the further we went up Rock river the more
friends we would meet, and our situation be
bettered; that they were on our side, and all
their people were our friends: that we must
not give up but continue to ascend Rock
river, on which, in a short time, we would
receive a reinforcement sufficiently strong to
repulse any enemy! They said they would go
down with their agent, to ascertain the strength
of the enemy, and then return and give us
the news : that they had to use some stratagem
to deceive their agent, in order to help us!
During this council, a number of my braves
hoisted the British flag, mounted their horses,
and surrounded the council lodge! I discov
ered that the agent was very much frightened!
I told one of his chiefs to tell him that he
need not be alarmed and then went out and
directed my braves to desist. Every warrior
immediately dismounted and returned to his
lodge. After the council adjourned, I placed
a sentinel at the agent s lodge, to guard him
fearing that some of my warriors might again
frighten him! I had always  thought
that he was a good man, and was determined
that he should not be hurt. He started, with
his chiefs, for Rock Island. 33
33 The family account of Gratiot s experiences
upon his mission to the Indians bears quite a
different complexion than does Black Hawk s
story. According to the former, Gratiot s escape
Jttfe of 25Iacft J^atoft
Having ascertained that the White Beaver
would not permit us to remain here, I began
to consider what was best to be done, and con
cluded to keep up the river and see the
Pottowattomies, and have a talk with them.
Several Winnebago chiefs were present, whom
I advised of my intentions, as they did not
seem disposed to render us any assistance. I
asked them if they had not sent us wampum
during the winter, and requested us to come
and join their people and enjoy all the rights
and privileges of their country? They did
not deny this ; and said if the white people
did not interfere, they had no objection to our
making corn this year with our friend the
prophet ; but did not wish us to go any further
The next day, I started with my party to
Kish-wa-co-kee. 34 That night I encamped a
short distance above the prophet s village.
After all was quiet in my camp, I sent for my
chiefs, and told them that we had been deceived!
That all the fair promises that had been held
out to us, through Ne-a-pope, were false!
But it would not do to let our party know it.
We must keep it secret among ourselves
was due to the active assistance of the Prophet,
and Black Hawk is given no credit in this con
nection. See Wisconsin Historical Collections, X,
^Kishwaukee River, which empties into Rock
River a few miles below Rockford, 111.
Hife of 25lacft fatoft
and move on to Kish-wa-co-kee, as if all was
right, and say something on the way to en
courage our people. I will then call on the
Pottowattomies, and hear what they say, and
see what they will do.
 We started the next morning, after
telling our people that news had just come
from Mil-wa-kee that a chief of our British
Father would be there in a few days!
Finding that all our plans were defeated, I
told the prophet that he must go with me, and
we would see what could be done with the
Pottowattomies. On our arrival at Kish-wa-
co-kee, an express was sent to the Pottowat-
tomie villages. The next day a deputation
arrived. I inquired if they had corn in their
villages? They said they had a very little
and could not spare any! I asked them
different questions, and received unsatisfactory
answers. This talk was in the presence of all
my people. I afterwards spoke to them pri
vately, and requested them to come to my lodge
after my people had got to sleep. They came,
and took seats. I asked them if they had re
ceived any news from the lake from the British ?
They said no. I inquired if they had heard
that a chief of our British Father was coming
to Mil-wa-kee to bring us guns, ammunition,
goods and provisions? They said, no! I
then told them what news had been brought
to me, and requested them to return to their
Sife of 2Macfe
village, and tell the chiefs that I wished to see
them and have a talk with them.
After this deputation started, I concluded
to tell my people, that if the White Beaver
came after us, we would go back as it was
useless to think of stopping or going on
without provisions. I discovered that the
 Winnebagoes and Potto wattomies were
not disposed to render us any assistance.
The next day the Pottowattomie chiefs arrived
at my camp. I had a dog killed, and made a
feast. When it was ready, I spread my medi
cine bags, and the chiefs began to eat. When
the ceremony was about ending, I received
news, that three or four hundred white men,
on horse-back, had been seen about eight miles
off. I immediately started three young men,
with a white flag, to meet them, and conduct
them to our camp, that we might hold a council
with them, and descend Rock river again.
And directed them, in case the whites had en
camped, to return, and I would go and see
them. After this party had started, I sent
five young men to see what might take place.
The first party went to the encampment of the
whites, and were taken prisoners. The last
party had not proceeded far, before they saw
about twenty men coming towards them in full
gallop! They stopped, and finding that the
whites were coming so fast in a warlike atti
tude, they turned and retreated, but were pur-
Hife of 25iacft J^atofe
sued, and two of them overtaken and killed!
The others made their escape. When they
came in with the news, I was preparing my
flags to meet the war chief. The alarm was
given. Nearly all my young men were absent,
about ten miles off. I started with what I had
left, (about forty,} and had proceeded but a
short distance, before we saw a part of the
army approaching. I raised a yell, and said
to my braves: "Some-of our people have
been killed!  wantonly and cruelly mur
dered! We must revenge their death!"
In a little while we discovered the whole
army coming towards us in full gallop! We
were now confident that our first party had
been killed! I immediately placed my men in
front of some bushes, that we might have the
first fire, when they approached close enough.
They made a halt some distance from us. I
gave another yell, and ordered my brave war
riors to charge upon them expecting that we
would all be killed ! They did charge ! Every
man rushed and fired, and the enemy retreated!
in the utmost confusion and consternation,
before my little, but brave band of warriors!
After pursuing the enemy some distance, I
found it useless to follow them, as they rode
so fast, and returned to my encampment with
a few of my braves, (about twenty -five having
gone in pursuit of the enemy.) I lighted my
pipe, and sat down to thank the Great Spirit
for what we had done. I had not been long
meditating, when two of the three young men
I had sent with the flag to meet the American
war chief, entered! My astonishment was not
greater than my joy to see them living and
well. I eagerly listened to their story, which
was as follows :
"When we arrived near to the encampment
of the whites, a number of them rushed out
to meet us, bringing their guns with them.
They took us into their camp, where an Amer
ican, who spoke the Sac Ian-  guage a
little, told us that his chief wanted to know
how we were where we were going where
our camp was and where Black Hawk was?
We told him that we had come to see his chief;
that our chief had directed us to conduct him
to our camp, in case he had not encamped;
and, in that event, to tell him, that he [Black
Hawk] would come to see him; he wished to
hold a council with him, as he had given up
all intention of going to war.
"At the conclusion of this talk, a party of
white men came in, on horseback. We saw
by their countenances that something had hap
pened. A general tumult arose. They looked
at us with indignation talked among them
selves for a moment when several cocked
their guns in a second, they fired at us in the
crowd; our companion fell dead! We rushed
through the crowd and made our escape. We
remained in ambush but a short time, before
we heard yelling, like Indians running an
3life of S&lacft i^atofc
enemy. In a little while we saw some of the
whites in full speed. One of them carne near
us. I threw my tomahawk, and struck him
on the head, which brought him to the ground!
I ran to him, and with his own knife, took off
his scalp! I took his gun, mounted his horse,
and took my friend here behind me. We
turned to follow our braves, who were running
the enemy, and had not gone far before we
overtook a white man, whose horse had mired
in a swamp! My friend alighted, and toma
hawked the man, who was apparently fast
under his horse! He  took his scalp,
horse, and gun/ By this time our party was
some distance ahead. We followed on, and
saw several white men lying dead in the way.
After riding about six miles, we met our party
returning. We asked them how many of our
men had been killed ? They said none, after the
Americans retreated. We inquired then, how
many whites had been killed ? They replied,
that they did not know; but said we will soon
ascertain, as we must scalp them as we go
back. On our return, we found ten men, be
sides the two we had killed before we joined
our friends. Seeing that they did not yet
recognize us, it being dark, we again asked,
how many of our braves had been killed?
They said five! We asked, who they were ?
They replied that the first party of three, who
went out to meet the American war chief, had
all been taken prisoners, and killed in the en-
ffiife of SMacft
campment; and that out of a party of five,
who followed to see the meeting of the first
party and the whites, two had been killed!
We were now certain that they did not recog
nize us nor did we tell them who we were
until we arrived at our camp! The news of
our death had reached it some time before,
and all were surprised to see us again."
The next morning I told the crier of my
village to give notice that we must go and bury
our dead. In a little while all were ready. A
small deputation was sent for our absent war
riors, and the remainder started. We first
disposed of our dead, and then commenced
 an examination, in the enemy s deserted
encampment, for plunder. We found arms,
ammunition, and provisions, all which we were
in want of particularly the latter, as we were
entirely without. We found, also, a variety
of saddle-bags, (which I distributed among my
braves,) and a small quantity of whisky! and
some little barrels that had contained this bad
medicine; but they were empty! I was sur
prised to find that the whites carried whisky
with them, as I had understood that all the
pale faces belonged to the temperance societies!
The enemy s encampment was in a skirt of
woods near a run, about half a day s travel
from Dixon s ferry. We attacked them in the
prairie, with a few bushes between us, about
sundown, and I expected that my whole party
would be killed! I never was so much sur-
Hife of 25lach I^atoft
prised, in all the fighting I have seen know
ing, too, that the Americans, generally, shoot
well as I was to see this army of several
hundreds, retreating! WITHOUT SHOW
ING FIGHT!! and passing immediately
through their encampment. I did think that
they intended to halt here, as the situation
would have forbidden attack by my party, if
their number had not exceeded half mine! as
we would have been compelled to take the
open prairie, whilst they could have picked trees
to shield themselves from our fire!
Never was I so much surprised in my life,
as I was in this attack! An army of three or
four hundred,  after having learned that
we were sueing for peace, to attempt to kill
the flag-bearers that had gone, unarmed, to
ask for a meeting of the war chiefs of the two
contending parties to hold a council, that I
might return to the west side of the Missis
sippi, to come forward, with a full determina
tion to demolish the few braves I had with me,
to retreat when they had ten to one, was un
accountable to me. It proved a different
spirit from any I had ever before seen among
the pale faces! I expected to see them fight
as the Americans did with the British during
the last war! but they had no such braves
among them! 35
35 The conflict here described, known as the battle
of Stillman s Run or Stillman s Defeat, occurred
May 14, 1832, a few miles southwest of the mouth
I had resolved on giving up the war and
sent a flag of peace to the American war chief
expecting, as a matter of right, reason and
justice, that our flag would be respected, (I
have always seen it so in war among the
whites,) and a council convened, that we might
explain our grievances, having been driven
from our village the year before, without being
permitted to gather the corn and provisions
which our women had labored hard to culti
vate, and ask for permission to return thereby
giving up all idea of going to war against the
Yet, instead of this honorable course which
I have always practised in war, I was forced
into WAR, with about five hundred warriors,
to contend against three or four thousand!
The supplies that Ne-a-pope and the prophet
told us about, and the reinforcements we were
to have, [ 124] were never more heard of; (and
it is but justice to our British Father to say,
were never promised his chief having sent
word in lieu of the lies that were brought to me
FOR US TO REMAIN AT PEACE,
AS WE COULD ACCOMPLISH NOTH
ING BUT OUR OWN RUIN BY GOING
TO WAR: }
What was now to be done ? It was worse
than folly to turn back and meet an enemy
of Sycamore Creek, in Ogle County, Illinois. Black
Hawk s description of the disgraceful affair is sub
fe of 2Macft l^atoft
where the odds were so much against us
and thereby sacrifice ourselves, our wives and
children, to the fury of an enemy who had
murdered some of our brave and unarmed
warriors, when they were on a mission to sue
for peace !
Having returned to our encampment, and
found that all our young men had come in, I
sent out spies, to watch the movement of the
army, and commenced moving up Kish-wa-co-
kee with the balance of my people. I did not
know where to go to find a place of safety for
my women and children, but expected to find
a good harbor about the head of Rock river.
I concluded to go there and thought my best
route would be to go round the head of Kish-
wa-co-kee, so that the Americans would have
some difficulty, if they attempted to follow us.
On arriving at the head of Kish-wa-co-kee,
I was met by a party of Winnebagoes, who
seemed to rejoice at our success. They said
they had come to offer their services, and were
anxious to join us. I asked them if they knew
where there was a safe  place for my
women and children. They told me that they
would send two old men with us to guide us to
a good safe place.
I arranged war parties to send out in differ
ent directions, before I proceeded further.
The Winnebagoes went alone. The war par
ties having all been fitted out and started, we
commenced moving to the Four Lakes, the
place where our guides were to conduct us.
We had not gone far, before six Winnebagoes
came in with one scalp! They said they had
killed a man at a grove, on the road from
Dixon s to the lead mines. 36 Four days after,
the party of Winnebagoes who had gone out
from the head of Kish-wa-co-kee, overtook us,
and told me that they had killed four men, and
taken their scalps; and that one of them was
Ke-o-kuck s father, (the agent). 37 They pro
posed to have a dance over their scalps! I
told them that I could have no dancing in my
camp, in consequence of my having lost three
young braves; but they might dance in their
own camp which they did.
Two days after, we arrived in safety at the
place where the Winnebagoes had directed us.
In a few days a great number of our warriors
came in. I called them all around me, and
addressed them. I told them, "Now is the
time, if any of you wish to come into distinc
tion, and be honored with the medicine bag!
Now is the time to show your courage and
bravery, and avenge the murder of our three
braves!"  Several small parties went
36 This was William Durley, killed near Polo, Illi
nois, May 19, 1832. For an account of the affair
see Stevens, op. cit., 142.
37 Felix St. Vrain, successor of Thomas Forsyth
in charge of the Indian agency at Rock Island. On
the massacre of St. Vrain and his companions see
Stevens, op, cit., 169-70.
Jlife of SWatfe
out, and returned again in a few days, with
success bringing in provision for our people.
In the meantime, some spies came in, and re
ported that the army had fallen back to Dixon s
ferry; and others brought news that the horse
men had broken up their camp, disbanded, and
Finding that all was safe, I made a dog
feast, preparatory to leaving my camp with a
large party, ( as the enemy were stationed so
far off.) Before my braves commenced feast
ing, I took my medicine bags, and addressed
them in the following language :
" Br&ves and Warriors: These are the
medicine bags of our forefather, Muk-a-ta-
quet, who was the father of the Sac nation.
They were handed down to the great war chief
of our nation, Na-na-ma-kee, who has been at
war with all the nations of the lakes and all the
nations of the plains, and have never yet been
disgraced! I expect you all to protect them!"
After the ceremony was over, and our feast
ing done, I started with about two hundred
warriors, following my great medicine bags.
I directed my course towards sunset, and
dreamed, the second night after we started,
that there was a great feast for us after
one day s travel! I told my warriors my
dream in the morning, and we all started for
Mos-co-ho-co-y-nak, [Apple river.] When
we arrived in the vicinity of a fort the white
people had built [ 127] there we saw four men
life of OTacft
on horseback. One of my braves fired and
wounded a man, when the others set up a yell,
as if a large force were near and ready to come
against us. We concealed ourselves, and re
mained in this position for some time, watching
to see the enemy approach but none came.
The four men, in the meantime, ran to the
fort and gave the alarm. We followed them,
and attacked their fort! 3S One of their braves,
who seemed more valiant than the rest, raised
his head above the picketing to fire at us, when
one of my braves, with a well directed shot,
put an end to his bravery! Finding that these
people could not all be killed, without setting
fire to their houses and fort, I thought it more
prudent to be content with what flour, pro
visions, cattle and horses we could find, than
to set fire to their buildings, as the light would
be seen at a distance, and the army might
suppose that we were in the neighborhood,
and come upon us with a force too strong.
Accordingly, we opened a house and filled our
bags with flour and provisions took several
horses, and drove off some of their cattle.
We started in a direction towards sunrise.
After marching a considerable time, I discov
ered some white men coming towards us. I
told my braves that we would get into the
38 Apple River Fort was about fourteen miles east
of Galena, Illinois. Black Hawk s futile attack upon
it occurred June 24, 1832. An interesting account
of the attack is given by Stevens, op. cit., 185-87.
Slife of 2BIacfc
woods and kill them when they approached.
We concealed ourselves until they came near
enough, and then commenced yelling and firing,
and made a rush upon them. 39 About this
time, their chief, with a party of men, rushed
up to rescue the [ 128] men we had fired upon.
In a little while they commenced retreating,
and left their chief and a few braves, who
seemed willing and anxious to fight! They
acted like braves, but were forced to give way
when I rushed upon them with my braves.
In a short time the chief returned with a larger
party. He seemed determined to fight, and
anxious for a battle! When he came near
enough, I raised the yell and firing, commenced
from both sides. The chief (who seemed to
be a small man) addressed his warriors in a
loud voice; but they soon retreated, leaving
him and a few braves on the battle-field. A
great number of my warriors pursued the re
treating party, and killed a number of their
horses as they ran. The chief and his few
braves were unwilling to leave the field. I
ordered my braves to rush upon them, and had
the mortification of seeing two of my chiefs
killed, before the enemy retreated.
39 This was the attack made upon Major Dement s
company at Kellogg s Grove, on June 25. The
"chief" who excited the admiration of Black Hawk
was, of course, Major Dement. His conduct on
this occasion stands in brilliant contrast with that of
Stillman and others of the Illinois militia under
3life of SMacft J^atoft
This young chief deserves great praise for
his courage and bravery; but fortunately for
us, his army was not all composed of such
During this attack, we killed several men
and about forty horses, and lost two young
chiefs and seven warriors. My braves were
anxious to pursue them to the fort, attack, and
burn it. But I told them that it was useless
to waste our powder, as there was no possible
chance of success if we did attack them and
that, as we had run the bear into his hole, we
would there leave him, and return to our camp.
On arriving at our encampment we found
that sev-[i29] eral parties of our spies had re
turned, bringing intelligence that the army had
commenced moving. Another party of five
came in and said they had been pursued for
several hours, and were attacked by twenty-
five or thirty whites in the woods; that the
whites rushed in upon them, as they lay con
cealed, and received their fire without seeing
them. They immediately retreated, whilst we
reloaded. They entered the thicket again, and
as soon as they came near enough, we fired!
Again they retreated, and again they rushed
into the thicket and fired! We returned their
fire, and a skirmish ensued between two of
their men and one of ours, who was killed by
having his throat cut ! This was the only man
we lost. The enemy having had three killed,
they again retreated.
Another party of three Sacs had come in,
and brought in two young squaws, whom they
had given to the Winnebagoes, to take to the
whites. They said they had joined a party of
Pottowattomies, and went with them as a war
party, against the settlers on the Illinois. 40
The leader of this party, a Pottowattomie,
had been severely whipped by this settler,
some time before, and was anxious to avenge
the insult and injury. While the party was
preparing to start, a young Pottowattomie
went to the settler s house, and told him to
leave it that a war party was coming to
murder them. They started, but soon returned
again, as it appeared that they were all there
when the war party arrived!  The Pot
towattomies killed the whole family, except
two young squaws, whom the Sacs took up on
their horses, and carried off to save their lives.
They were brought to our encampment, and
a messenger sent to the Winnebagoes, as they
were friendly on both sides, to come and get
them, and carry them to the whites. If these
young men belonging to my band, had not
gone with the Pottowattomies, the two young
squaws would have shared the same fate as
40 The allusion in this paragraph is to the bloody
Indian Creek massacre a dozen miles north of Ottawa,
Illinois, May 20, 1832. The "young squaws" were
Rachael and Sylvia Hall, the only survivors of the
massacre. For their story see Stevens, op.cit., 146 ff.
ft of SSlacfc
During our encampment at the Four Lakes,
we were hard put to obtain enough to eat to
support nature. Situate in a swampy, marshy
country, (which had been selected in conse
quence of the great difficulty required to gain
access thereto,) there was but little game of
any sort to be found and fish were equally
scarce. The great distance to any settlement,
and the impossibility of bringing supplies there
from, if any could have been obtained, deterred
our young men from making further attempts.
We were forced to dig roots and bark trees, to
obtain something to satisfy hunger and keep
us alive! Several of our old people became
so much reduced, as actually to die with hun
ger! And, finding that the army had com
menced moving, and fearing that they might
come upon and surround our encampment, I
concluded to remove my women and children
across the Mississippi, that they might return
to the Sac nation again. Accordingly, on the
next day, we commenced moving, with 
five Winnebagoes acting as our guides, intend
ing to descend the Ouisconsin.
Ne-a-pope, with a party of twenty, remained
in our rear, to watch for the enemy, whilst we
were proceeding to the Ouisconsin, with our
women and children. We arrived, and had
commenced crossing them to an island, when
we discovered a large body of the enemy com
ing towards us. We were now compelled to
fight, or sacrifice our wives and children to
3life of 25Iacfe
the fury of the whites ! I met them with fifty
warriors, (having left the balance to assist
our women and children in crossing,) about a
mile from the river, when an attack immedi
ately commenced. I was mounted on a fine
horse, and was pleased to see my warriors so
brave. I addressed them in a loud voice,
telling them to stand their ground, and never
yield it to the enemy. At this time I was on
the rise of a hill, where I wished to form my
warriors, that we might have some advantage
over the whites. But the enemy succeeded in
gaining this point, which compelled us to fall
back into a deep ravine, from which we con
tinued firing at them and they at us, until it
began to grow dark. My horse having been
wounded twice during this engagement, and
fearing from his loss of blood, that he would
soon give out and finding that the enemy
would not come near enough to receive our
fire, in the dusk of the evening and knowing
that our women and children had had sufficient
time to reach the island in the Ouisconsin, I
ordered my warriors to return, in differ-[i32]
ent routes, and meet me at the Ouisconsin
and were astonished to find that the enemy
were not disposed to pursue us.
In this skirmish, with fifty braves, I defended
and accomplished my passage over the Ouis
consin, with a loss of only six men; though
opposed by a host of mounted militia. I would
not have fought there, but to gain time for my
tfe of 25tatft
women and children to cross to an island. A
warrior will duly appreciate the embarrass
ments I labored under and whatever may be
the sentiments of the white people, in relation
to this battle, my nation, though fallen, will
award to me the reputation of a great brave,
in conducting it. 41
The loss of the enemy could not be ascer
tained by our party; but I am of opinion that
it was much greater, in proportion, than mine.
We returned to the Ouisconsin, and crossed
over to our people.
Here some of my people left me, and de
scended the Ouisconsin, hoping to escape to
the west side of the Mississippi, that they
might return home. I had no objection to
their leaving me, as my people were all in a
desperate condition being worn out with
travelling, and starving from hunger. Our
only hope to save ourselves was to get across
the Mississippi. But few of this party escaped.
Unfortunately for them, a party of soldiers
from Prairie du Chien, was stationed on the
Ouisconsin, a short distance from its mouth,
41 This fight, known as the Battle of Wisconsin
Heights, took place June 21, about twenty-five miles
northwest of Madison, Wisconsin. Except on the
point of the respective losses, white accounts of the
battle do not differ materially from Black Hawk s
story; and opinion may well accord the recognition
which Black Hawk here claims, of having conducted
a brave and clever action with the odds heavily
3tife of 25Iatft
who fired upon our distressed people. Some
were killed, others drowned, and several taken
pris-[i33] oners, and the balance escaped to
the woods and perished with hunger. 42 Among
this party were a great many women and chil
I was astonished to find that Ne-a-pope and
his party of spies had not yet come in they
having been left in my rear to bring the news,
if the enemy were discovered. It appeared,
however, that the whites had come in a differ
ent direction, and intercepted our trail but a
short distance from the place where we first
saw them leaving our spies considerably in
the rear. Ne-a-pope, and one other, retired
to the Winnebago village, and there remained
during the war! The balance of his party,
being brave men, and considering our interest
as their own, returned, and joined our ranks.
Myself and band having no means to descend
the Ouisconsin, I started, over a rugged coun
try, to go to the Mississippi, intending to cross
it, and return to my nation. Many of our
people were compelled to go on foot, for want
of horses, which, in consequence of their hav-
42 The destruction of this party of fugitive non-
combatants, composed almost wholly of old men,
women, and children, constitutes one of the least
creditable aspects of the war from the white stand
point. After stating the expectations with which
the party set out, Thwaites dryly remarks, "But
too much faith was placed in the humanity of the
ing had nothing to eat for a long time, caused
our march to be very slow. At length we
arrived at the Mississippi, 43 having lost some
of our old men and little children, who perished
on the way with hunger.
We had been here but a little while, before
we saw a steam boat (the "Warrior,") coming.
I told my braves not to shoot, as I intended
going on board, so that we might save our
women and children. I knew the captain
[THROCKMORTON,] and was determined
to [ J 34] gi ve myself up to him. I then sent
for my white flag. While the messenger was
gone, I took a small piece of white cotton, and
put it on a pole, and called to the captain of
the boat, and told him to send his little canoe
ashore, and let me come on board. The people
on board asked whether we were Sacs or Winne-
bagoes. I told a Winnebago to tell them that
we were Sacs, and wanted to give ourselves
up ! A Winnebago on the boat called to us
"to run and hide, that the whites were going to
shoot!" About this time one of my braves
had jumped into the river, bearing a white flag
to the boat when another sprang in after him
and brought him to shore. The firing then
commenced from the boat, which was returned
43 At a point about two miles below the mouth of
Bad Axe River, and almost directly opposite the
northern boundary of Iowa. Here was shortly
enacted the pitiful tragedy known as the battle of
3tifc of 23Iach
by my braves, and continued for some time.
Very few of my people were hurt after the
first fire, having succeeded in getting behind
old logs and trees, which shielded them from
the enemy s fire.
The Winnebago, on the steam boat must
either have misunderstood what was told, or
did not tell it to the captain correctly ; because
I am confident that he would not have fired
upon us, if he had known my wishes. I have
always considered him a good man, and too
great a brave to fire upon an enemy when
sueing for quarters.
After the boat left us, I told my people to
cross, if they could, and wished : that I intended
going into the Chippewa country. Some com
menced crossing, and such as had determined
to follow them, remained  only three
lodges going with me. Next morning, at day
break, a young man overtook me, and said
that all my party had determined to cross the
Mississippi that a number had already got
over safe, and that he had heard the white
army last night within a few miles of them.
I now began to fear that the whites would
come up with my people, and kill them, before
they could get across. I had determined to
go and join the Chippewas ; but reflecting that
by this I could only save myself, I concluded
to return, and die with my people, if the Great
Spirit would not give us another victory!
During our stay in the thicket, a party of
Eifc of 25facft
whites came close by us, but passed on with
out discovering us.
Early in the morning a party of whites, being
in advance of the army, came upon our people,
who were attempting to cross the Mississippi.
They tried to give themselves up the whites
paid no attention to their entreaties but com
menced slaughtering them! In a little while
the whole army arrived. Our braves, but few
in number, finding that the enemy paid no
regard to age or sex, and seeing that they
were murdering helpless women and little chil
dren, determined to fight until they were killed!
As many women as could, commenced swim
ming the Mississippi, with their children on
their backs. A number of them were drowned,
and some shot, before they could reach the
opposite shore. 44
One of my braves, who gave me this infor
mation,  piled up some saddles before
him, (when the fight commenced,) to shield
himself from the enemy s fire, and killed three
white men ! But seeing that the whites were
coming too close to him, he crawled to the
44 "Some of the fugitives succeeded in swimming
to the west bank of the Mississippi, but many were
drowned on the way, or coolly picked ofif by sharp
shooters, who exercised no more mercy towards
squaws and children than they did towards braves
treating them all as though they were rats instead of
human beings." Thwaites, "Story of the Black
Hawk War," in Wisconsin Historical Collections,
Jlife of 25lacft i^atofe
bank of the river, without being perceived, and
hid himself under it, until the enemy retired.
He then came to me and told me what had
been done. After hearing this sorrowful news,
I started, with my little party, to the Winne-
bago village at Prairie La Cross. 45 On my
arrival there, I entered the lodge of one of the
chiefs, and told him that I wished him to go
with me to his father that I intended to give
myself up to the American war chief, and die,
if the Great Spirit saw proper! He said he
would go with me. I then took my medicine
bag, and addressed the chief. I told him that
it was "the soul of the Sac nation that it
never had been dishonored in any battle
take it, it is my life dearer than life and
give it to the American chief!" He said he
would keep it, and take care of it, and if I was
suffered to live, he would send it to me.
During my stay at the village, the squaws
made me a white dress of deer skin. I then
started, with several Winnebagoes, and went
to their agent, at Prairie du Chien, and gave
On my arrival there, I found to my sorrow,
that a large body of Sioux had pursued, and
killed, a number of our women and children,
who had got safely across the Mississippi.
The whites ought not to have permitted such
45 This was on the site of the modern city of
La Crosse. On the capture of Black Hawk see
Wisconsin Historical Collections, VIII, 316.
life of 2Macft
conduct and none but cowards would ever
 have been guilty of such cruelty which
has always been practiced on our nation by
The massacre, which terminated the war,
lasted about two hours. Our loss in killed,
was about sixty, besides a number that were
drowned. The loss of the enemy could not
be ascertained by my braves, exactly; but they
think that they killed about sixteen, during the
I was now given up by the agent to the
commanding officer at fort Crawford, ( the
White Beaver having gone down the river.)
We remained here a short time, and then
started to Jefferson Barracks, in a steam boat,
under the charge of a young war chief, [ Lieut.
Jefferson Davis] who treated us all with much
kindness. He is a good and brave young
chief, with whose conduct I was much pleased. 47
46 Black Hawk s statement of the white loss is quite
accurate, but he greatly understates the Indian loss
in the battle and the succeeding massacre. For the
battle of Bad Axe, Thwaites gives the white casual
ties as seventeen killed and twelve wounded; while
of the Indians 150 were killed outright and as many
more were drowned. About 300 safely crossed the
Mississippi before and during the battle, one half of
whom were slain by the Sioux band set on them by
General Atkinson s orders in the massacre at which
Black Hawk expresses his indignation.
47 Apparently the feeling was reciprocated. A
campaign life of Davis published in 1851 at the time
of his candidacy for the governorship of Mississippi
ttifc of 2Macfc l^atoft
On our way down, we called at Galena, and
remained a short time. The people crowded
to the boat to see us ; but the war chief would
not permit them to enter the apartment where
we were knowing, from what his own feel
ings would have been, if he had been placed
in a similar situation, that we did not wish to
have a gaping crowd around us.
We passed Rock Island, without stopping.
The great war chief, [Gen. Scott,] who was
then at fort Armstrong, came out in a small
boat to see us ; but the captain of the steam
boat would not allow any body from the fort
to come on board of his boat, in consequence
of the cholera raging among the soldiers. 48 I
 did think that the captain ought to have
permitted the war chief to come on board to
see me, because I could see no danger to be
apprehended by it. The war chief looked well,
and I have since heard, was constantly among
his soldiers, who were sick and dying, adminis
tering to their wants, and had not caught the
disease from them and I thought it absurd
to think that any of the people on the steam
boat could be afraid of catching the disease
states that "he entirely won the heart of the savage
chieftain, and before they reached Jefferson Barracks
there had sprung up between the stern red warrior
and the young pale face a warm friendship which
only terminated with the life of Black Hawk."
48 For an account of the cholera epidemic of 1832
and its bearing on the Black Hawk War, see
Quaife, op. /., chap. XIV.
It ife of S&Iarft
from a well man. But these people have not
got bravery like war chiefs, who never fear
any thing !
On our way down, I surveyed the country
that had cost us so much trouble, anxiety, and
blood, and that now caused me to be a prisoner
of war. I reflected upon the ingratitude of
the whites, when I saw their fine houses, rich
harvests, and every thing desirable around
them; and recollected that all this land had
been ours, for which me and my people had
never received a dollar, and that the whites
were not satisfied until they took our village
and our grave-yards from us, and removed us
across the Mississippi.
On our arrival at Jefferson barracks, we met
the great war chief, [White Beaver,] who had
commanded the American army against my
little band. I felt the humiliation of my situ
ation : a little while before, I had been leader
of my braves, now I was a prisoner of war!
but had surrendered myself. He received us
kindly, and treated us well.
We were now confined to the barracks, and
forced [ 139 ] to wear the ball and chain ! This
was extremely mortifying, and altogether use
less. Was the White Beaver afraid that I
would break out of his barracks, and run away?
Or was he ordered to inflict this punishment
upon me ? If I had taken him prisoner on the
field of battle, I would not have wounded his
feelings so much, by such treatment knowing
life of 2Macft l^atoft
that a brave war chief would prefer death to
dishonor! But I do not blame the White
Beaver for the course he pursued as it is
the custom among white soldiers, and, I sup
pose, was a part of his duty.
The time dragged heavily and gloomily along
throughout the winter, although the White Bea
ver done every thing in his power to render
us comfortable. Having been accustomed,
throughout a long life, to roam the forests o er
to go and come at liberty confinement, and
under such circumstances, could not be less
We passed away the time making pipes, until
spring, when we were visited by the agent,
trader, and interpreter, from Rock Island,
Ke-o-kuck, and several chiefs and braves of
our nation, and my wife and daughter. I was
rejoiced to see the two latter, and spent my
time very agreeably with them and my people,
as long as they remained.
The trader, presented me with some dried
venison, which had been killed and cured by
some of my friends. This was a valuable
present; and although he had given me many
before, none ever pleased me  so much.
This was the first meat I had eaten for a long
time, that reminded me of the former pleas
ures of my own wigwam, which had always
been stored with plenty.
Ke-o-kuck and his chiefs, during their stay
at the barracks, petitioned our Great Father,
ffiife of 3Miirk
the president, to release us; and pledged them
selves for our good conduct. I now began to
hope that I would soon be restored to liberty,
and the enjoyment of my family and friends;
having heard that Ke-o-kuck stood high in the
estimation of our Great Father, because he
did not join me in the war. But I was soon
disappointed in my hopes. An order came
from our Great Father to the White Beaver,
to send us on to Washington.
In a little while all were ready, and left
Jefferson barracks on board of a steam boat,
under charge of a young war chief, whom the
White Beaver sent along as a guide to Wash
ington. He carried with him an interpreter
and one soldier. On our way up the Ohio,
we passed several large villages, the names of
which were explained to me. The first is
called Louisville, and is a very pretty village,
situate on the bank of the Ohio river. The
next is Cincinnati, which stands on the bank
of the same river. This is a large and beau
tiful village, and seemed to be in a thriving
condition. The people gathered on the bank
as we passed, in great crowds, apparently
anxious to see us.
On our arrival at Wheeling, the streets and
river s banks were crowded with people, who
flocked from  every direction to see us.
While we remained here, many called upon us,
and treated us with kindness no one offering
to molest or misuse us. This village is not
ttife of 2Macft
so large as either of those before mentioned,
but is quite a pretty village.
We left the steam boat here, having travelled
a long distance on the prettiest river (except
our Mississippi,) that I ever saw and took
the stage. Being unaccustomed to this mode
of travelling, we soon got tired, and wished
ourselves seated in a canoe on one of our own
rivers, that we might return to our friends.
We had travelled but a short distance, before
our carriage turned over, from which I received
a slight injury, and the soldier had one arm
broken. I was sorry for this accident, as the
young man had behaved well.
We had a rough and mountainous country
for several days, but had a good trail for our
carriage. It is astonishing to see what labor
and pains the white people have had to make
this road, as it passes over an immense num
ber of mountains, which are generally covered
with rocks and timber; yet it has been made
smooth, and easy to travel upon. 49
Rough and mountainous as is this country,
there are many wigwams and small villages
standing on the road side. I could see nothing
in the country to induce the people to live in
it ; and was astonished to find so many whites
living on the hills!
49 This was the famous Cumberland Road, often
popularly known as the "National Road." For its
history see Archer B. Hulbert, The Cumberland Road,
I have often thought of them since my return
to my own people; and am happy to think that
they prefer  living in their own country,
to coming out to ours, and driving us from it,
that they might live upon and enjoy it as
many of the whites have already done. I think,
with them, that wherever the Great Spirit
places his people, they ought to be satisfied to
remain, and thankful for what He has given
them; and not drive others from the country
He has given them, because it happens to be
better than theirs! This is contrary to our
way of thinking; and from my intercourse
with the whites, I have learned that one great
principle of their religion is, "to do unto
others as you wish them to do unto you!"
Those people in the mountains seem to act
upon this principle; but the settlers on our
frontiers and on our lands, never seem to
think of it, if we are to judge by their actions.
The first village of importance that we
came to, after leaving the mountains, is called
Hagerstown. It is a large village to be so far
from a river, and is very pretty. The people
appear to live well, and enjoy themselves much.
We passed through several small villages on
the way to Fredericktown, but I have forgotten
their names. This last is a large and beautiful
village. The people treated us well, as they
did at all other villages where we stopped.
Here we came to another road, much more
wonderful than that through the mountains.
ttife of SSlatft f atoft
They call it a rail road! I examined it care
fully, but need not describe it, as the whites
know all about it. It is the [ 143 ] most aston
ishing sight I ever saw. The great road over
the mountains will bear no comparison to it
although it has given the white people much
trouble to make. I was surprised to see so
much labor and money expended to make a
good road for easy travelling. I prefer riding
horseback, however, to any other way; but
suppose that these people would not have gone
to so much trouble and expense to make a
road, if they did not prefer riding in their new
fashioned carriages, which seem to run with
out any trouble. They certainly deserve great
praise for their industry.
On our arrival at Washington, we called to
see our Great Father, the president. 50 He
looks as if he had seen as many winters as I
have, and seems to be a great brave! I had
very little talk with him, as he appeared to be
busy, and did not seem to be much disposed
to talk. I think he is a good man; and
although he talked but little, he treated us
very well. His wigwam is well furnished with
every thing good and pretty, and is very
He said he wished to know the cause of my
gojng to war against his white children. I
thought he ought to have known this before;
and, consequently, said but little to him about
50 Andrew Jackson.
Hife of SWacft
it as I expected he knew as well as I could
He said he wanted us to go to fortress Mon
roe, and stay awhile with the war chief who
commanded it. But, having been so long from
my people, I told him [ 144 ] that I would rather
return to my nation that Ke-o-kuck had
come here once on a visit to see him, as we
had done, and he let him return again, as soon
as he wished ; and that I expected to be treated
in the same way. He insisted, however, on
our going to fortress Monroe ; and as our in
terpreter could not understand enough of our
language to interpret a speech, I concluded
it was best to obey our Great Father, and say
nothing contrary to his wishes.
During our stay at the city, we were called
upon by many of the people, who treated us
well, particularly the squaws! We visited the
great council house of the Americans the
place where they keep their big guns and all
the public buildings, and then started to for
tress Monroe. The war chief met us, on our
arrival, and shook hands, ahd appeared glad
to see me. He treated us with great friend
ship, and talked to me frequently. Previous
to our leaving this fort, he gave us a feast,
and gave us some presents, which I intend
to keep for his sake. He is a very good
man, and a great brave! I was sorry to
leave him, although I was going to return to
my people, because he had treated me like
Eife of S&lacft l^atoft
a brother, during all the time I remained
Having got a new guide, a war chief, [Maj.
Garland,] we started for our own country,
taking a circuitous route. Our Great Father
being about to pay a visit to his children in
the big towns towards sunrising, and being
desirous that we should have an oppor- 
tunity of seeing them, directed our guide to
take us through.
On our arrival at Baltimore, we were much
astonished to see so large a village; but the
war chief told us that we would soon see a
larger one. This surprised us more. During
our stay here, we visited all the public buildings
and places of amusement saw much to ad
mire, and were well entertained by the people,
who crowded to see us. Our Great Father
was there at the same time, and seemed to be
much liked by his white children, who flocked
around him, (as they had done us,) to shake
him by the hand. He did not remain long
having left the city before us.
We left Baltimore in a steam boat, and
travelled in this way to the big village, where
they make medals and money, [Philadelphia.]
We again expressed surprise at finding this
village so much larger than the one we had
left ; but the war chief again told us, that we
would soon see another much larger than this.
I had no idea that the white people had such
Eifc of 25lack
large villages, and so many people. They
were very kind to us showed us all their
great public works, their ships and steam boats.
We visited the place where they make money,
[the mint,] and saw the men engaged at it.
They presented each of us with a number of
pieces of the coin as they fell from the mint,
which are very handsome.
I witnessed a militia training in this city, in
which were performed a number of singular
military feats.  The chiefs and men
were well dressed, and exhibited quite a war
like appearance. I think our system of mili
tary parade far better than that of the whites
but, as I am now done going to war, I will
not describe it, or say any thing more about
war, or the preparations necessary for it.
We next started to New York, and on our
arrival near the wharf, saw a large collection
of people gathered at Castle-Garden. We had
seen many wonderful sights in our way large
villages, the great national road over the
mountains, the rail roads, steam carriages,
ships, steam boats, and many other things;
but we were now about to witness a sight more
surprising than any of these. We were told
that a man was going up into the air in a bal
loon! We watched with anxiety to see if it
could be true; and to our utter astonishment,
saw him ascend in the air until the eye could
no longer perceive him. Our people were all
Sife of SEtfacft
surprised, and one of our young men asked the
prophet if he was going up to see the Great
After the ascension of the balloon, we
landed, and got into a carriage, to go to the
house that had been provided for our reception.
We had proceeded but a short distance, before
the street was so crowded that it was impos
sible for the carriage to pass. The war chief
then directed the coachman to take another
street and stop at a different house from the
one we had intended. On our arrival here,
we were waited upon by a number of gentle
men, who seemed much pleased to see us.
 We were furnished with good rooms,
good provisions, and every thing necessary for
The chiefs of this big village, being desirous
that all their people should have an opportunity
to see us, fitted up their great council house
for this purpose, where we saw an immense
number of people; all of whom treated us
with friendship, and many with great gen
The chiefs were particular in showing us
every thing that they thought would be pleas
ing or gratifying to us. We went with them
to Castle-Garden to see the fire-works, which
was quite an agreeable entertainment- but to
the whites who witnessed it, less magnificent
than the sight of one of our large prairies would
be when on fire.
Sife of SMacft
We visited all the public buildings and places
of amusement, which to us were truly aston
ishing, yet very gratifying.
Every body treated us with friendship, and
many with great liberality. The squaws pre
sented us many handsome little presents, that
are said to be valuable. They were very kind,
very good, and very pretty tor pale fates !
Among the men, who treated us with marked
friendship, by the presentation of many valu
able presents, I cannot omit to mention the
name of my old friend CROOKS, of the
American Fur Company. I have known him
long, and have always found him to be a good
chief one who gives good advice, and treats
 our people right. I shall always be
proud to recognize him as a friend, and glad
to shake him by the hand. 51
Having seen all the wonders of this big vil
lage, and being anxious to return to our people,
our guide started with us for our own country.
On arriving at Albany, the people were so
anxious to see us, that they crowded the street
51 Ramsey Crooks, to whom Black Hawk alludes,
was for almost a generation a prominent actor in
the conduct of the American fur trade. He was in
Wisconsin, in the employ of the North West Com
pany, as early as 1806. After participating in the
Astorian Expedition of 1811-12 and other hazardous
enterprises, Crooks entered the employment of John
Jacob Astor. He was made a partner in Astor s
American Fur Company in 1817, and in 1834, on
Astor s retirement, became president of the com
pany. He died at New York in 1859.
tfe of 25Iacft
and wharves, where the steam boat landed, so
much, that it was almost impossible for us to
pass to the hotel which had been provided for
We remained here but a short time, and
then started for Detroit. I had spent many
pleasant days at this place; and anticipated, on
my arrival, to meet many of my old friends
but in this I was disappointed. What could
be the cause of this ? Are they all dead ? Or
what has become of them ? I did not see our
old father 52 there, who had always gave me
good advice, and treated me with great friend
After leaving Detroit, it was but a few days
before we landed at Prairie du Chien. The
war chief at the fort treated us very kindly, as
did the people generally. I called on the father
of the Winnebagoes, [Gen. J. M. Street,] to
whom I had surrendered myself after the battle
at the Bad Axe, who received me very friendly.
I told him that I had left my great medi
cine bag with his chiefs before I gave myself
up; and now, that I was to enjoy my liberty
again, I was anxious to get it, that I might
hand it down to my nation unsullied.
 He said it was safe; he had heard his
chiefs speak of it, and would get it and send
52 Lewis Cass, who for many years was governor
of Michigan Territory and superintendent in charge
of the relations of the government with the Indian
tribes of the larger portion of the Northwest.
Hife of 25Iacft J^atoft
it to me. I hope he will not forget his promise,
as the whites generally do because I have
always heard that he was a good man, and a
good father and made no promise that he
did not fulfil.
Passing down the Mississippi, I discovered
a large collection of people in the mining
country, on the west side of the river, and on
the ground that we had given to our relation,
DUBUQUE, a long time ago. I was surprised
at this, as I had understood from our Great
Father, that the Mississippi was to be the
dividing line between his red and white chil
dren, and he did not wish either to cross it. I
was much pleased with this talk, as I knew it
would be much better for both parties. I have
since found the country much settled by the
whites further down and near to our people,
on the west side of the river. I am very much
afraid, that in a few years, they will begin to
drive and abuse our people, as they have for
merly done. I may not live to see it, but I
feel certain the day is not distant.
When we arrived at Rock Island, Ke-o-kuck
and the other chiefs were sent for. They
arrived the next day with a great number of
their young men, and came over to see me. I
was pleased to see them, and they all appeared
glad to see me. Among them were some who
had lost relations during the war the year be
fore. When we met, I perceived the tear of
sor-[i5O]row gush from their eyes at the
life of 2Wacft
recollection of their loss, yet they exhibited a
smiling countenance, from the joy they felt at
seeing me alive and well.
The next morning, the war chief, our guide,
convened a council at fort Armstrong. Ke-o-
kuck and his party went to the fort; but, in
consequence of the war chief not having called
for me to accompany him, I concluded that I
would wait until I was sent for. Consequently
the interpreter came, and said, "they were
ready, and had been waiting for me to come
to the fort." I told him I was ready, and
would accompany him. On our arrival there,
the council commenced. The war chief said
that the object of this council was to deliver
me up to Ke-o-kuck. He then read a paper,
and directed me to follow Ke-o-kuck s advice,
and be governed by his council in all things ! In
this speech he said much that was mortifying
to my feelings, and I made an indignant reply.
I do not know what object the war chief had
in making such a speech, or whether he in
tended what he said; but I do know, that it
was uncalled for, and did not become him. I
have addressed many war chiefs, and have
listened to their speeches with pleasure but
never had my feelings of pride and honor in
sulted on any former occasion. I am sorry
that I was so hasty in reply to this chief, be
cause I said that which I did not intend.
In this council, I met my old friend, a great
war chief, [Col. Wm. Davenport,] whom I had
Ittfr of 231ach ttatoft
known  about eighteen years. He is a
good and brave chief. He always treated me
well, and gave me good advice. He made a
speech to me on this occasion, very different
from that of the other chief. It sounded like
coming from a brave. He said he had known
me a long time that we had been good friends
during that acquaintance and, although he
had fought against my braves, in our late war, he
still extended the hand of friendship to me
and hoped, that I was now satisfied, from what
I had seen in my travels, that it was folly to
think of going to war against the whites, and
would ever remain at peace. He said he would
be glad to see me at all times and on all
occasions would be happy to give me good
If our Great Father were to make such men
our agents, he would much better subserve
the interests of our people, as well as his own,
than in any other way. The war chiefs all
know our people, and are respected by them.
If the war chiefs, at the different military posts
on the frontiers, were made agents, they could
always prevent difficulties from arising among
the Indians and whites; and I have no doubt,
had the war chief above alluded to, been our
agent, we would never have had the difficulties
with the whites which we have had. Our agents
ought always to be braves! I would, there
fore, recommend to our Great Father, the
propriety of breaking up the present Indian
Hife of 25lacfe
establishment and creating a new one and
of making the commanding officers, at the
different frontier posts, the  agents of
the government for the different nations of
I have a good opinion of the American war
chiefs, generally, with whom I am acquainted ;
and my people, who had an opportunity of
seeing and becoming well acquainted with the
great war chief [Gen. Winfield Scott,] who
made the last treaty with them, in conjunction
with the great chief of Illinois, [Governor
Reynolds,] all tell me that he is the greatest
brave they ever saw, and a good man one
who fulfils his promises. Our braves speak
more highly of him, than of any chief that has
ever been among us, or made treaties with us.
Whatever he says, may be depended upon.
If he had been our Great Father, we never
would have been compelled to join the British
in their last war with America and I have
thought that, as our Great Father is changed
every few years, that his children would do
well to put this great war chief in his place
as they cannot find a better chief for a Great
Father any where. 53
I would be glad if the village criers, [editors,]
53 Probably Black Hawk was the first person to
put General Scott in nomination for the presidency;
Black Hawk s advice was adopted by the Whig
party eighteen years later, but in the ensuing elec
tion the American people registered their emphatic
dissent from it.
Eife of 2Macft
in all the villages I passed through, would let
their people know my wishes and opinions
about this great war chief.
During my travels, my opinions were asked
on different subjects but for want of a good
interpreter, were very seldom given. Presum
ing that they would be equally acceptable now,
I have thought it a part of my duty, to lay the
most important before the public.
 The subject of colonizing the negroes
was introduced, and my opinion asked, as to
the best method of getting clear of these
people. I was not fully prepared at the time,
to answer as I knew but little about their
situation. I have since made many inquiries
on the subject and find that a number of
states admit no slaves, whilst the balance hold
these negroes as slaves, and are anxious, but
do not know, how to get clear of them. I
will now give my plan, which, when under
stood, I hope will be adopted.
Let the free states remove all the male
negroes within their limits, to the slave states
then let our Great Father buy all the/ema/e
negroes in the slave states, between the ages
of twelve and twenty, and sell them to the
people of the free states, for a term of years
say, those under fifteen, until they are
twenty-one and those of, and over fifteen,
for five years and continue to buy all the
females in the slave states, as soon as they
arrive at the age of twelve, and take them to
Itife of 25Iatfe
the free states, and dispose of them in the
same way as the first and it will not be long
before the country is clear of the black skins,
about which, I am told, they have been talking,
for a long time; and for which they have ex
pended a large amount of money.
I have no doubt but our Great Father would
willingly do his part in accomplishing this ob
ject for his children as he could not lose
much by it, and would make them all happy.
If the free states did not want  them all
for servants, we would take the balance in our
nation to help our women make corn.
I have not time now, nor is it necessary, to
enter more into detail about my travels through
the United States. The white people know
all about them, and my people have started to
their hunting grounds, and I am anxious to
Before I take leave of the public, I must
contradict the story of some village criers,
who (I have been told,) accuse me of "hav
ing murdered women and children among the
whites!" This assertion is false! I never
did, nor have I any knowledge that any of my
nation ever killed a white woman or child. I
make this statement of truth, to satisfy the
white people among whom I have been travel
ling, (and by whom I have been treated with
great kindness,) that, when they shook me by
the hand so cordially, they did not shake the
Jlifc of 25lacft
hand that had ever been raised against any
It has always been our custom to receive all
strangers that come to our village or camps,
in time of peace, on terms of friendship to
share with them the best provisions we have,
and give them all the assistance in our power.
If on a journey, or lost, to put them on the
right trail, and if in want of moccasins, to
supply them. I feel grateful to the whites for
the kind manner they treated me and my party
whilst travelling amongst them and from my
heart I assure them, that the white man will
always be welcome in our village or camps,
as a  brother. The tomahawk is buried
forever! We will forget what has past and
may the watchword between the Americans
and Sacs and Foxes ever be "Friendship!"
I am now done. A few more moons and
I must follow my fathers to the shades ! May
the Great Spirit keep our people and the whites
always at peace is the sincere wish of
ALBANY (N. Y.), Black Hawk visits, 93, 173-74.
Allegheny Mountains, as a boundary, 15.
American Bottom, in Illinois, 19.
American Fur Company, partner, 173.
Apple River (Moscohocoynak), fort on, 148-49.
Arkansas River, Indian embassy to, 116.
Astor, John Jacob, fur trader, 173.
Astorian expedition, 173.
Atkinson, Gen. Henry (White Beaver), in Black Hawk
War, 133, 139, 163; orders Sioux massacre, 161;
treatment of Black Hawk, 135, 137, 163-65; book
dedicated to, 7-8.
BAD AXE, battle of, 157-59, *6i, 174.
Bad Axe River, mouth of, 157.
Balloon ascension, Black Hawk describes, 171-72.
Baltimore, Black Hawk visits, 170.
Beans, legend of origin of, 95-96; raised by Indians,
Beaver, hunted, 98.
Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiah), birth, 23,
30; early exploits, 30-35; visits factory, 50-52; in
War of 1812, 44-46,52-60; visits Maiden, 101, 104;
opposes removal from village, 102-7, 111-13, 116-
17; agrees to remove, 118-19, 124; nonresistance,
119-20, 125-26; signs treaty, 126; promised aid, 128-
31; speeches, no, 122-23, X 48; prepares for war,
131-32, 135; advances up Rock River, 131-36; coun
cil with Potawatomi, 138-39; defeats whites, 139-
44; forced into war, 145-46; early attacks, 146,
148-50; at Four Lakes, 153; battle of Wisconsin
Heights, 154-55; attempts to surrender, 157-58;
battle of Bad Axe, 158-59; capture of, 160-61, 174;
imprisoned, 161-64; ironed, 163; eastern tour, 21,
93. 165-74; subjected to Keokuk, 176; family, 99,
164; undertakes autobiography, 5, 10, 13; dedica
Black Hawk War, causes, ix, 17-20, 106-33, J 68; hos
tilities begun, 133-40; Stillman s defeat, 139-44;
flight through Wisconsin, 153-57; Bad Axe defeat,
157-59; Sioux massacre, 160-61; numbers engaged,
145; losses, 161; results, 21-22, 162; accounts of, 9.
British. See England.
Buell, Pauline, acknowledgments to, xi.
CAP AU GRIS (Capo Gray), on the Mississippi, 65.
Cass, Lewis, Black Hawk commends, 174.
Cherokee Indians, hostilities with, 33, 35.
Chicago, beginnings, 22; Indian treaties at, 17, 115;
in War of 1812, 56; trader at, 48-49; fur trade
Chippewa Indians, hostilities with, 35; promise aid to
Black Hawk, 129-30; Black Hawk seeks refuge
Cholera, effect on Black Hawk War, 162.
Chouteau, Auguste, treaty commissioner, 80.
Cincinnati, Black Hawk describes, 165.
Clark, Gen. William, treaty commissioner, 80; Indian
superintendent, 109, 112, 118-19, 131-32.
Coles, Edward, governor of Illinois, 109-10.
Craig, Capt. Thomas E., in War of 1812, 59.
"Credit Island, 1814-1914," 76.
Crooks, Ramsey, Black Hawk meets, 173.
Cuivre (Quiver) River, 65-66, 70.
Cumberland (National) Road, Black Hawk traverses,
DAVENPORT, Col. William, Indian agent, 176-77.
Davis, Jefferson, in Black Hawk War, 22, 161; friend
ship with Black Hawk, 162.
Dement, Maj. John, bravery, 150-51.
Des Moines Rapids, fort at, 40, 77, 81.
Detroit, a frontier town, 19; in War of 1812, 44, 55-57;
treaty near, 80; commandant, 114; Black Hawk
Dickson (Dixon), Robert, British agent in War of
1812, 46, 52-54, 58, 98; promises to Indians, 101.
Dixon s Ferry, in Black Hawk War, 143, 147-48.
Dogs, eaten by Indians, 26, 148.
Dubuque, Julien, lead mines ceded to, 175.
Durley, William, killed, 147.
EDWARDS, Gov. Ninian, treaty commissioner, 80.
England, captures Canada 29; influence on Indians,
16, 19-20, 29, 38, 49, 54, 81, 86, 101, 114, 128-29,
136, 145, 178; relation to Black Hawk, 129-30,
145; wars with, 15-16, 46-47, 69, 101, 144; peace,
121; fort at Prairie du Chien, 72-76.
English River, hunting on, 68-69.
Erie Canal, effect of, 22.
FABIUS River, 81.
Factory system. See fur trade factory.
Farley, Mary, acknowledgments to, xi.
Fire works, compared to a prairie fire, 172.
Flags, at Indian village, 37-38, 74-75; at Fort Madi
son, 46; Rock Island, 52; presented to Indians, 52,
55; of truce, 69, 130, 157; British raised, 136.
Forsyth, Thomas, Indian agent, 48-49, 98, 102-3, 109,
in, 113; in War of 1812, 53, 55-56; attempt to
capture, 56, 58, 98; threatened, 112; advises Black
Hawk, 118; deprived of office, 120; successor, 147.
Fort Apple River, attacked, 148-49.
Fort Armstrong, built, 87; Indian agent at, 48; Black
Hawk visits, 98; commandant, 103, 112, 162; coun
cil at, 176-77.
Fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien, 161.
Fort Dearborn, captured, 44, 56.
Fort Howard, in Missouri, 66.
Fort Johnson, built, 77; attacked, 78; abandoned, 77,
Fort Madison, site, 133; built, 40-42; attack on, 44-46;
factory at, 49-52; commandant, 60; abandoned, 65.
Fort Wayne, 56.
Fortress Monroe, Black Hawk at, 169.
Foster, Mary S., acknowledgments to, xi.
Four Lakes country, Black Hawk seeks, 146-47; refuge
in, 153. See also Madison.
Fox Indians, village, 38, 70, 75, 88; chief, 103; union
with Sacs, 29-30; agency for, 5, 10; killed by Sioux,
116; vengeance of, 127-28, 133; peace with, 80-81;
hunting party, 128; oppose Black Hawk, 131.
Fox River of Illinois, as a boundary, 17.
Fox (Sac) River (Wis.), Indians on, 29.
Frederick (Md.), Black Hawk visits, 167.
French, struggle for America, 15, 29; Indians first
meet, 24-25, 28-29; sell Louisiana, 36.
French- Canadian settlements, in Illinois, 19; at Peoria,
59; at Prairie du Chien, 47.
Frontiersmen, attitude toward Indians, ix, 19; western
advance, 15, 19.
Fur trade, American, 173; British, 52, 82; French, 29;
rivalry in, 15-16, 90; methods, 49-50, 52-53, 90, 97,
Fur trade factory, at Chicago, 49; Fort Madison, 41,
Furs, stolen from Indians, 102.
GAINES, Gen. Edmund P., advances against Black
Hawk, 121, 124, 126, 128; makes treaty, 126, 133.
Galena (111.), 119, 149, 162.
Garland, Maj. John, accompanies Black Hawk, 170.
Gomo, Potawatomi chief, 56, 58, 69, 71, 82-85.
Gratiot, Henry, visit to Black Hawk, 135-37.
Green Bay, Indians at, 29; in War of 1812, 53-54.
HAGERSTOWN (Md.), Black Hawk visits, 167.
Hall, Judge James, Black Hawk complains to, 109-10.
Hall, Rachael, captured, 152.
Hall, Sylvia, captured, 152.
Hancock County (111.), 77.
Harrison, William H., governor of Indiana Territory,
17; holds treaty, 38.
Hashequarhiqua, Sac chief, 39.
Henderson River, 80.
Honey, stolen from Indians, 102.
Hulbert, Archer H., The Cumberland Road, 166.
ILLINOIS, early settlements in, 19; hunting, 60; massa
cre, 152; militia, 20, 59, 125, 133, 150; land cession
in, 40, 103; governor, 80, 109, 178; effect of Black
Hawk War in, 22.
Illinois River, as a boundary, 17, 21; village on, 48;
Indians on, 56, 58, 71; hunting on, 83; massacre
Illinois State Historical Society Journal, 76.
Indian agent, at Rock Island, 5, 10, 48, 98, 102-3,
118, 177; for Winnebago, 105, 135; superintendent,
109, 112, 118-19, 131-32, 174; killed in war, 147;
changes recommended, 178.
Indian corn, legend of, 95-96; cultivation, 91, 93, 95,
99, 107, 117, 120, 124, 145, 180; harvested, 50, 89,
95> 97J given to Sacs, 126; stolen by Sacs, 127.
Indian Creek (111.), massacre on, 152.
Indiana Territory, governor, 17; in 1804, 18-19.
Indians, characteristics, ix, 20; food, 91, 98, 107, 112-
13; dress, 160; feasts, 26, 35, 90-92, 94-95, 139,
148; games, 97; dances, 31, 33, 75, 91-93* I47J
amusements, 50, 121; harvests, 50, 89, 95, 97; treat
ment of women, 65,91-92, 107, 180; courtship, 92;
marriage, 91-92; divorce, 92; women s influence,
117, 123-24; religion, 95, 97, 107; belief in dreams,
78, 121, 123, 148; legends, 23-28, 88, 95-96; code of
morals, 87; hunting customs, 35, 50, 93-94, 97-98,
117; drunkenness, 99,108, no; present giving, 90,
94; hospitality, 181; devotion to ancestral seat, 89,
106-7, iii-i2, 117, 127, 163; payment for murder,
39, 100; desire for vengeance, 127-28, 147, 152;
cause of wars, 15-16, 94; war customs, 62, 65, 92-93,
134, 142; war songs, 122, 134; neutrality, 49; peace
customs, 101; death songs, 68, 100; mourning cus
toms, 34, 35, 83, 89, 90, 99; maple sugar making,
98; medicine bags, 33, 79, 139, 147-48, 160, 174;
treatment by whites, x, 10, 12, 17, 43, 48, 86-87,
102, 104, 106, 108, no, 114, 141, 146, 163, 167,
175; land cessions to, 10, 17, 40; effect of confine
ment on, 164.
Iowa, Annals of, 40.
Iowa, boundary, 157; Indians in, 20.
Iowa Indians, on the warpath, 34; hostilities with Sacs,
Iowa (loway) River, affluent, 69; camp on, 68; village,
JACKSON, Andrew, Black Hawk visits, 168-69; at Bal
Jefferson Barracks, troops at, 133; Black Hawk, 161-65.
Jeffreon River, in Missouri, 40.
Johnston, Albert Sidney, in Black Hawk War, 22.
KASKASKIA Indians, war with Sacs and Foxes, 30, 35.
Kellogg s Grove (111.), in Black Hawk War, 150-51.
Keokuk (Keokuck), Sac chief, 20, 63, 132; becomes
war chief, 64; removes village, 103-6, 112; attends
treaty, 114-15; at council, 121-22, 175-77; desires
peace, 131-32; visits Washington, 169; agent for,
147; defense of, 118; relation to Black Hawk, 106-7,
112, 116-17, 124, 131, 164-65, 176; speech, 64;
Kickapoo Indians, in War of 1812, 54, 56.
Kinzie, John, trader, 48.
Kishwaukee (Kishwacokee) River, Black Hawk on,
137-38, 146; Winnebago on, 147.
LA CROSSE (Prairie La Cross), Winnebago village at,
La Gutrie, Edward, British trader, 52, 54, 81-82.
Lake Michigan, as a boundary, 22.
Lance, The Sac chief, 63.
Lead mines, region of, 44, 70, 80; settled, 21; cession
of, 104, 175; worked by Indians, 94; in Black
Hawk War, 147.
Leclaire, Antoine, interpreter for Black Hawk, 10, 13;
Lincoln, Abraham, in Black Hawk War, 22.
Louisiana, purchase, 36.
Louisville, Black Hawk visits, 165.
MACKINAC, Indians at, 29; massacre at, 43; in War of
1812, 44; fur trade post, 82.
Madison (Wis.), 155. See also Four Lakes country.
Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiah. See Black Hawk.
Maiden, British defeat at, 69; Indians visit, 101, 114,
Matatah, Potawatomi brave, 83-84.
Mattatas, Sac chief, 123; daughter, 123-24.
Medals, given to Indians, 25, 38-39, 55, 101; value, 26.
Menominee Indians, hunt with Sacs, 82; kill Foxes,
116; vengeance on, 127-28, 133.
Meramec River, 33.
Michigan, in 1804, 19; territorial governor, 174.
Milwaukee (Milwdke) as a fort, 129, 138.
Mint, Black Hawk visits, 171.
Mississippi, governor of, 161.
Mississippi River, as a boundary, 15, 17, 20, 22, 40, 60,
103, 109, 113, 118, 121-22, 124-26, 135, 144, 153,
155-56, J 63, 175; affluents, 33; island in, 87; ice
in, 105; fur trade on, 49; during War of 1812, 55,
63,65,72-77; Indians claim, 89; Indians cross, 158-
61; Black Hawk on, 133, 157, 175; Pike ascends,
Missouri, Indians in, 30, 60-61; governor, 80; land
cessions in 17; in War of 1812, 66-68, 70.
Missouri Gazette, 74.
Missouri River, Indians on, 31, 63, 70; mouth, 89.
Montreal, Indian habitat, 23, 29.
Moscohocoynak. See Apple River.
Mukataquet, Black Hawk s ancestor, 26-27, 148.
Muscow Indians, visit Sacs, 30.
Muskrats, hunted, 98.
NAMAH (Sturgeon), Sac chief, 23, 25-26, 28.
Nanamakee (Thunder), Black Hawk s ancestor, 23-28,
30, 148; speech, 27-28.
Napoleon I, sells Louisiana, 36.
National Road. See Cumberland Road.
Neapope, Sac chief, 112, 128-31, 137, 145; with rear
guard, 153; retires to the Winnebago, 156.
Negro colonization, Black Hawk s opinions on, 179-80.
New York City, Black Hawk visits, 93, 171-73.
Nomite, Sac chief, 80.
North West Fur Company, in Wisconsin, 173.
OGLE County (111.), battle in, 145.
Ohio River, as a boundary, 15, 19; Black Hawk on,
165; characterizes, 166.
Old Northwest, last Indian war in, 16.
Osage Indians, intertribal relations, 30-35.
Osage River, 30.
Ottawa (111.), 152.
Ottawa Indians, in War of 1812, 54; promise aid to
Black Hawk, 120-30.
Ouchequ^ka, Sac chief, 39.
Ouisconsin River. See Wisconsin River.
PASHEPAHO, Sac chief, 39.
Paukahummawa (Sun Fish), Sac chief, 23, 26, 28.
Peoria, visited, 48; in War of 1812, 53, 55, 59,
63-64, 69; commandant, 71, 83-85.
Philadelphia, Black Hawk visits, 170.
Pike, Zebulon M., on the Mississippi, 37, 38.
Polo (111.), in Black Hawk War, 147.
Portage des Sioux (Mo.), treaties at, 80; as a bound
ary, 89. <
Potawatomi (Pottowattomi) Indians, habitat, 49, 56,
71; language, 71; in War of 1812, 53-54, 56, 58,
69-70, 82-85; treaty with, 115; promise aid to Black
Hawk, 129-30, 137; council with, 138-39; repudiate
Black Hawk, 139; participate in massacre, 152.
Prairie du Chien (Wis.), 44, 47; in War of 1812,47,
72-76; fort at, 72; council, 116; treaty, 114-15;
massacre near, 127, 133; in Black Hawk War, 155,
1 60; return to, 174.
Prairie La Crosse. See La Crosse.
Presidency, Black Hawk s nomination, 178.
Prophet. See Shawnee Prophet.
Prophet (Winnebago). See White Cloud.
Pyesa, Black Hawk s father, 23, 30-31; death, 33, 35.
QUAIFE, M. M., Chicago and the Old Northwest, 17, 43,
49, 56, 162.
Quashquame, Sac chief, 39, 63, 66, 104, no, 115.
Quebec, British capture, 29.
Quiver River. See Cuivre River.
RACCOONS, hunted, 98.
Railroad, Black Hawk describes, 168.
Red River, Indian Embassy to, 116.
Reynolds, John, governor of Illinois, 125, 178; calls
out militia, 133.
Rockford (111.), site, 137.
Rock Island (111.), legend of, 88; agency at, 5, 10, 48,
98, 102-3, H3, 118,133,147,164; trader, 52, 1 12-13,*
133, 164; fort on, 87; interpreter at, 105, 113, 164;
council, 175; cholera, 162; visitors, 109; battles
near, 72-77; encampment, 126; village, 75, 87-88;
in Black Hawk War, 136.
Rock Rapids, in the Mississippi, 72, 76, 77, 88.
Rock River, rapids in, 88-89; islands, 107; source, 146;
affluent, 137; Winnebago on, 105; soldiers on, 121,
125-26; war party, 72; Indian village at mouth, 19,
23,30,36,42,49,58-59, 61-62, 71, 79, 81; signed
away, 87, no; removal from, 103-6, 116, 122; Black
Hawk ascends, 133-36.
SAC (Sauk) Indians, aboriginal habitat, 23; village built,
30; language, 141 ; myths, 23-28,88; superstitions,
160; customs, 90-98, 148; union with Foxes, 29-30;
Missouri band, 62-63, 7, 7 2 J intertribal relations,
93-94, 98, 100-1; agency for, 5, 10, 98, 102-3, 109,
in-12, 114; relation to British, 16, 19-20, 46-47,
72, 101 ; treatment by Americans, 102-6, 108, 111-14,
117-27; threaten hostilities, 112; rescue captives,
152; fugitives, 155-56; die of hunger, 156-57; mas
sacred by Sioux, 160-61; visit Washington, 48-49;
council with, 42; described, 88-89. See also Black
Sac River. See Fox River.
Sacs and Foxes, unite, 29; treaty of 1804, 9, 17-18,
38-40; treaty of 1816,80,85-86, 127; treaty of 1833,
St. Louis (Mo.), Spanish at, 34, 36; transferred to
United States, 36-37; treaty at, 10, 17, 38-40, 85-86;
in War of 1812, 55, 63; peace announced at, 69, 71,
80; agency at, 98, 104, 108, 111-12, 118-19, 131-32,
St. Vrain, Felix, massacred, 147.
Salt River, 37, 54.
Sanatuwa, Potawatomi chief, 71.
Sangamon (Sangomo) River, hunting ground, 69.
Sauk Indians. See Sac Indians.
Scott, Gen. Winfield, in Black Hawk War, 22; at Rock
Island, 162-63; Black Hawk nominates for presi-
Selkirk, Thomas Douglas, Earl, settlement on Red
Shaw nee Prophet, revolt of, 43-44, 106.
Sink Hole Battle, 66-68.
Siouan Indian stock, 30.
Sioux Indians, hostilities with, 93-94, 98, 116, 127;
massacre Sacs, 160-61.
Skunk River, hunting on, 50.
Slavery, Black Hawk s ideas on, 179-80.
Snelling, William J., Tales of the Northwest, 47.
Spanish, at St. Louis, 34, 36; transfer Louisiana, 36, 37.
Spring Wells (Mich.), treaties at, 80.
Squashes, raised by Indians, 127.
Stevens, Frank E., The Black Hawk War, 74, 125, 147,
Stillman s Defeat, 139-44, 150.
Street, Gen. J. M., Indian agent, 174-75.
Sturgeon, Sac chief. See Namah.
Sun Fish, Sac chief. See Paukahummawa.
Sycamore Creek, battle near, 145.
TATAPUCKEY, Potawatomi chief, 71.
Taylor, Maj. Zachary, in War of 1812, 76-77.
Tecumseh, Shawnee chief, 43, 106.
Texas, Indian embassy to, 116.
Throckmorton, Capt. John, commands the "Warrior,"
157-58; characterized, 158.
Thunder, Sac chief. See Nanamakee.
Thwaites, Reuben G., opinion cited, 106, 156; "Story
of the Black Hawk War," 159, 161; Wisconsin, 76.
Tippecanoe, battle of, 44.
Tobacco, legend of origin, 95-96.
Treaty of Paris (1763), 15.
Treaty of Paris (1783), 15-16.
Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800), 36.
Treaty of 1804, with Sacs and Foxes, 9, 17-18, 38-40,
103, no, 113-14-
Treaty of 1815, at Portage des Sioux, 80.
Treaty of 1815, at Spring Wells, 80.
Treaty of 1816, at St. Louis, 80, 85-86, 127.
Treaty of 1821, at Chicago, 17.
Treaty of 1825, at Prairie du Chien, 114-15.
Treaty of 1833, at Chicago, 17.
Two River country, hunting in, 77, 81-82, 102.
VENISON, given Black Hawk in captivity, 164.
Vincennes, capital of Indiana Territory, 19.
WABASH River, Indians on, 43-44, 85; visit to, 114.
Wacome, Sac chief, 64.
Wapello, Sac chief, 121-22.
War of 1812, cause, ix; in the West, 44-48, 52-59; in
Missouri, 66-68; at Prairie du Chien, 72-76; Indians
in, 178; peace made, 69-71, 80.
"Warrior," Mississippi steamboat, 157-58.
Warsaw (111.), site, 77.
Washeown, Potawatomi chief, 69-70; death, 71.
Washington, George, favors factory system, 49.
Washington (D. C.), capitol, 85; chiefs desire to visit,
131-32; Indians visit, 48-49, 51, 104, 113-14, 169;
Black Hawk visits, 165, 168-70.
Wassacummico, Chippewa band, 130.
West Point, Black Hawk describes, 93.
Wheeling (W. Va.), Black Hawk describes, 165-66.
Whig party, presidential candidate, 178.
White Beaver. See Atkinson, Gen. Henry.
White Cloud (Winnebago Prophet), village, 129-30,
I 35, i37; Black Hawk consults, 105, 116, 121; ad
vice, 121, 123, 129-31, 134, 145; joins war party,
133, 138; speech, 134; aids Gratiot s escape, 136-37;
Winnebago Indians, villages, 105, 156, 160; inter
tribal relations, 127-28; assist Tecumseh, 43-44; in
War of 1812, 45, 54; agent for, 105, 135, 174; sym
pathize with Black Hawk, 129, 136, 146, 157-58;
oppose Black Hawk, 137, 139; join hostiles, 147;
rescue captives, 152; guide the whites, 153; at Black
Hawk s surrender, 160.
Winnebago Prophet. See White Cloud.
Wisconsin, Indians of, 29; fur trade in, 173; effect of
Black Hawk War, 21-22; history, 76.
Wisconsin Heights, battle of, 153-55.
Wisconsin Historical Collections, 46, 48, 66, 76, 137,
Wisconsin (Ouisconsin) River, as a boundary, 17, 21;
mouth, 89, 155; Indians on, 30; Black Hawk, 153,
J 55-56; massacre on, 116; battle, 153-55.
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